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Is Les Miserables popular in France?
Posted by phantom8019 2013-02-26 15:38:10


Seems like the movie is not as popular in France as it is worldwide. For example, the opening weekend in the UK was 13 million. But according to boxofficemojo.com: "Oddly, in spite of its French connection it only opened in eighth place in France with $865,000."

Any theories on this?

Is Les Miserables popular in France?
Posted by Dave19 2013-02-26 17:40:29


It seems that musical theatre is not popular in France in general.

Also, they do not know the English language at all, so they only watch completely dubbed films.

Does anyone know what kind of version of the film was playing in France? The original film or completely dubbed?

Is Les Miserables popular in France?
Posted by Phyllis Rogers Stone 2013-02-26 17:53:07


Dave is right. Not a single French person knows any English at all.

Is Les Miserables popular in France?
Posted by RaisedOnMusicals 2013-02-26 17:57:29


PRS, you took the words right out my bouche. Sacrebleu!

Is Les Miserables popular in France?
Posted by Phyllis Rogers Stone 2013-02-26 17:58:19


THEY do know know it AT ALL.

Case closed.

Is Les Miserables popular in France?
Posted by MarkBearSF 2013-02-26 17:59:25


I have heard that American musical theatre historically has not been popular there, but that dubbed movies are not nearly as popular as "vo" (version originale) subtitled ones.

Is Les Miserables popular in France?
Posted by peachesr82 2013-02-26 19:19:57


I've lived in Paris for a number of years and musical theatre just isn't really a big thing here. Mamma Mia is running and Theatre du Chatelet are doing short runs of Carousel, West Side Story and Sunday in the Park with George (with Julian Ovenden) this year, but that's about it. They do quite like their Sondheim, there was a great production of A Little Night Music a few years ago with Leslie Caron and Greta Scacchi who stepped in for Kristen Scott Thomas .

I can't say I've ever been to a dubbed movie, most are subtitled. I actually saw Les Mis in a cinema a few streets over from where the real June rebellion took place. Undubbed with subtitles. There hasn;t been a massive buzz about it though I have to say.

Is Les Miserables popular in France?
Posted by bobs3 2013-02-26 20:16:22


Part of the problem with a Les Miz film or musical play in France is that EVERYONE knows Victor Hugo's novel. It is taught in every public, private and parochial school in France. Most french people consider the musical and the various film productions to be bastardizations of the beloved great French novel. Even the French-language version starring Depardieu was a failure in France.

As far as French citizens not speaking English, I can't speak for the rest of the country but most Parisians speak some or even fluent English (you basically have to if you are in anyway involved with US, UK, CAN--non-Quebec, and AU visitors).

And yes, the earlier poster was correct, most foreign language films shown in Paris are subtitled.

Le problème avec un film de Les Miserables ou de jeu musical dans les Frances est que chacun connaît le roman de Victor Hugo. On lui enseigne à chaque école publique, privée et paroissiale dans les Frances. La plupart des personnes françaises considèrent comme étant le musical et les productions cinématographiques des insulter du grand roman français aimé. La film version française de tenant le premier rôle Depardieu était un échec dans les Frances.

(My French can be a little rusty so feel free to correct any mistakes.)









Is Les Miserables popular in France?
Posted by ken8631 2013-02-27 08:13:38


Merci!

Is Les Miserables popular in France?
Posted by Dave19 2013-02-27 10:03:46


Do you guys have any idea why the English language is banned from the country?

They have their own French pop music scene and there are no English spoken movies available in theatres. People in France are just never exposed to the language. They even have their own French internet, just like in Japan.

I know French people and their knowledge of English is even worse than it is in Japan.

So, this could be very well the reason the do not understand the show or film "Les Miserables". Did the filmmakers insist that the songs stay in English?

Is Les Miserables popular in France?
Posted by TheatreDiva90016 2013-02-27 10:14:50


Oh.

This is going to be fun...

Is Les Miserables popular in France?
Posted by CarlosAlberto 2013-02-27 10:16:23


Dave19, do you read anything before you post to a thread?

This is an honest question and I am not trying to be sarcastic.

Two people, including one who actually lives in France posted that English films are shown in theaters with subtitles, while another stated that some Parisians speak some or even fluent English because they have to if they are in anyway involved with US, UK, CAN--non-Quebec, and AU visitors.

Is Les Miserables popular in France?
Posted by Reginald Tresilian 2013-02-27 10:26:44


No language is banned in France so far as I know, though it's true that the Academie francaise has a list of words that they say shouldn't appear in government documents. They also encourage journalists to use a French equivalent.

Roughly 39 percent of French people speak at least some English.






Is Les Miserables popular in France?
Posted by mrcacou 2013-02-27 10:39:59


Guys. You have to stop watching Fox News. English is widely popular in France. If you want a country where people only speak one language go to the UK or the US where your own language is not even mastered (I lived in South Carolina and NY for a few years). Kids are taught two foreign languages in school here sometimes three. Oh, and we have running water and electricity just so you know and French fries are actually from Belgium. Sorry for the obnoxious French rectification but some of the comments pissed me off (or maybe were they meant to sound funny but I doubt it).

In big cities, like here in Paris movies are mostly subtitled. Cartoons are dubbed during matinees for kids and subtitled in the evening.

The film was shown sung in English with dialogs (like 10 sentences) in French according to what I've been told. I saw the English version.

Musicals are not big indeed here. Well, musicals like you intend them. Our big shows are concerts in costumes. I loath them but they seem to attract masses.

The movie of Les Miz does not reflect the Victor Hugo we are taught here, at all. It is 2 hrs 30 minutes of heavy crying scenes. The books of les Miz are a lot more than that.

Bobs3, si tu veux parler français de temps en temps ce serait avec plaisir.

We are not used to having people singing every sentence in a musical. People were laughing each time HJ would sing after 1 hour and a half. I was hurt to be quite honest and felt alone with my boyfriend.
I could go on and on and on why Les Mis where a flop in 1991 in France, again during the UK tour that stops in Paris and again as a movie but to cut a long story short, the 1985 version has nothing to do with the original French show that was more of a "spectacle" like the one I wrote about above.

Is Les Miserables popular in France?
Posted by Reginald Tresilian 2013-02-27 10:51:08


Mrcacou, thanks for the information!

Is Les Miserables popular in France?
Posted by MCfan2 2013-02-27 10:54:23


And Fox News has what to do with any of this . . . ?

Is Les Miserables popular in France?
Posted by CarlosAlberto 2013-02-27 10:55:39


They're french, no?

Is Les Miserables popular in France?
Posted by MCfan2 2013-02-27 10:59:02


Oh right, I forgot.

Is Les Miserables popular in France?
Posted by Reginald Tresilian 2013-02-27 11:05:12


From Wikipedia's entry on "Francophobia":

"The swell of anti-French sentiment in the United States resulting from 2003 episode was marked. Various media personalities and politicians openly expressed anti-French sentiments;News Corporation's media outlets, particularly the Fox Entertainment Group's Fox News Network, were specifically implicated in a campaign fanning francophobia at the time of the war."

Is Les Miserables popular in France?
Posted by CarlosAlberto 2013-02-27 11:11:53


FAUX News < - - - FRENCH!

Is Les Miserables popular in France?
Posted by Valastairekelly 2013-02-27 11:22:20


Being french, and an avid musical fan, I've followed closely how the french media handled "Les Misérables". And what happened was exactly what I thought would happen. Most of the reviews I have read were mixed, reviewers thought that the original Victor Hugo novel lost of its impact and strength in this version...Then again, it's such a HUGE part of french culture that it had, sadly, almost no chance of being well received in an adaptation coming from anywhere else than France...

Is Les Miserables popular in France?
Posted by Dave19 2013-02-27 12:06:36


Carlos, I always read first :) But I'm at work now and the page was still open and I typed and I finished the post a while later.

"I actually saw Les Mis in a cinema a few streets over from where the real June rebellion took place. Undubbed with subtitles."

That's interesting, when I was there I couldn't find the original versions of movies at all (Les Mis was not playing then). Is there a fully dubbed version too?

"Being french, and an avid musical fan, I've followed closely how the french media handled "Les Misérables". And what happened was exactly what I thought would happen. ....reviewers thought that the original Victor Hugo novel lost of its impact and strength in this version...no chance of being well received in an adaptation coming from anywhere else than France..."

This is what I mean. Why is it so bad to appreciate something else?

"People were laughing each time HJ would sing after 1 hour and a half. I was hurt to be quite honest and felt alone with my boyfriend"

That's quite sad, but there has to be a reason for them to "not get it". Is it the language barrier? Is it the fact that HJ's singing sounds embarrassing?

I think this is an interesting issue.










Is Les Miserables popular in France?
Posted by Reginald Tresilian 2013-02-27 12:29:12


"Why is it so bad to appreciate something else?"

I would be surprised if American audiences didn't have a similar response to a French musical based on, say, "Huckleberry Finn."

Is Les Miserables popular in France?
Posted by Dave19 2013-02-27 12:33:29


But the writers of the show are actually French in this case.

Are they popular in France?

Is Les Miserables popular in France?
Posted by Reginald Tresilian 2013-02-27 12:44:53


The original source matieral, yes. But given that this is a Hollywood adaptation of a British version . . .

Again, imagine the response of U.S. audiences to a French version of a German adaptation of "Oklahoma."

Is Les Miserables popular in France?
Posted by newintown 2013-02-27 12:50:09


Well, isn't is still basically the French show in translation?

I have the Berlin recording of Chicago in German, and I love it. Strangely, they don't call it Chikagö.

I've also heard a very fun German translation of My Fair Lady, in which Eliza sings in Berlin slang, and Higgins teachers her High German.

I've heard that the original French Les Misérables musical was just another Euro-poperetta that ran a few months to little acclaim; then Cameron Mackintosh heard a tape of it at a party and went bat****, and now we have to hear "I Dreamed A Dream" every five minutes, no matter where we are.

Anyone else hear anything?

Is Les Miserables popular in France?
Posted by Reginald Tresilian 2013-02-27 12:58:38


I've heard highlights of the French score, but honestly I have no idea how much the piece as a whole adheres to the original.

At any rate, my point was not that the French were right in rejecting the film (if that is in fact the case); just that if they did, I didn't find it all that surprising.

Is Les Miserables popular in France?
Posted by CarlosAlberto 2013-02-27 13:00:30


I have the french concept album. I have no idea what they are singing...but I know the melodies and it's interesting listening to it in French...I like it...and yes it is way more pop-influenced in the original French version.

Is Les Miserables popular in France?
Posted by Elke 2013-02-27 13:18:40


I'm a Belgian, currently living in France (45 minutes from Paris)... I went to see the subtitled English version of Les Mis last week and when I left the theatre, I heard a French guy complaining to his girlfriend about how boring and overly dramatic it was. I suspect one of the reasons it was not at all what he expected, is because here in France, a 'musical' is actually called a 'comédie musicale'.

So people who are not very familiar with musical theatre, its history etc. do not expect to see something like Les Mis when they buy a ticket for a 'musical comedy'.

The selection of currently staged musicals here is quite limited too: Mamma Mia, The Full Monty, Sister Act, Robin Des Bois (French original), 1789 Les Amants De La Bastille (French original)... So yes, they're pretty much limited to a happy-go-lucky Broadway show OR a French original production / spectacle with lavish sets, special effects, large ensemble numbers,...

Is Les Miserables popular in France?
Posted by phantom8019 2013-02-27 13:30:40


It's always interesting to see how these movies are received in their "home" nations. I recall reading that Evita did very well in Argentina, despite the government asking people not to see it.

Is Les Miserables popular in France?
Posted by CarlosAlberto 2013-02-27 13:33:01


^ That doesn't make any sense to me whatsoever. The Argentine government granted the filmmakers permission to film in the country and many Argentine locals were used as extras in the film and it generated revenue for them.

Is Les Miserables popular in France?
Posted by phantom8019 2013-02-27 13:37:36


I know. I knew all that about it being shot there and Madonna personally asking to film at certain places.
But I recall reading an article when that film came out that someone in the government was urging people not to see it. Who knows. I may be mis-remembering.

Is Les Miserables popular in France?
Posted by phantom8019 2013-02-27 13:44:12


Maybe some people in the government ended up not liking the movie. Wikipedia (for what it's worth) says this:

Following the success of the film, the government of Argentina released its own film biography of Pern, entitled Eva Pern, to correct alleged distortions in the Lloyd Webber account.[8]

Is Les Miserables popular in France?
Posted by bobs3 2013-02-27 13:49:15


"Bobs3, si tu veux parler français de temps en temps ce serait avec plaisir."


Le plaisir serait tout l'à moi. Je serai à Paris la deux semaine de juin et je travaille à améliorer mon français. Il a été de deux ans puisque ma dernière visite.

Is Les Miserables popular in France?
Posted by Mister Matt 2013-02-27 14:00:45


I would be surprised if American audiences didn't have a similar response to a French musical based on, say, "Huckleberry Finn."

Or Gone With the Wind, which the French turned into one of their spectacle musicals. I saw the DVD and...OOF! It's...quite...something. Just search "Autant en emporte le vent" on Youtube.

They even have their own French internet, just like in Japan.

I heard the US has their own in English. Can you imagine?!?!

Is Les Miserables popular in France?
Posted by sabrelady 2013-02-27 15:12:26


The United States speaks English? I thot dey speaks Murican!
BOO YAH!

Is Les Miserables popular in France?
Posted by Phyllis Rogers Stone 2013-02-27 15:27:21


I think it's pretty xenophobic of France and Japan not not have their internets is American.

Is Les Miserables popular in France?
Posted by newintown 2013-02-27 15:32:45


"I think it's pretty xenophobic of France and Japan not not have their internets is American."

I'd give that an A if I were an English teacher. (If I was an English teacher?)

Is Les Miserables popular in France?
Posted by Phyllis Rogers Stone 2013-02-27 15:40:35


I probably deserve a couple of points knocked off due to my not correcting the "not not."

Is Les Miserables popular in France?
Posted by newintown 2013-02-27 15:44:51


A-?

What about the unique phrase "not have their internets is American?"

Is Les Miserables popular in France?
Posted by Phyllis Rogers Stone 2013-02-27 15:45:44


Yikes. This is why I don't usually take hallucinogens during the day.

Is Les Miserables popular in France?
Posted by Reginald Tresilian 2013-02-27 15:46:43


You meant "not have their internetses be American," right, Phyl?

Is Les Miserables popular in France?
Posted by Phyllis Rogers Stone 2013-02-27 15:48:23


Internets [sic] is the only clever liberty I meant to take with that sentence.

Is Les Miserables popular in France?
Posted by jo 2013-02-27 18:47:46


The original French production was staged at Palais des Sports in Paris and was seen by over 500,000 people over a 100-performance run. The contract expired for the use of the arena, hence the limited run. The original concept album sold around 260,000 copies in its initial release ( it was re-released 10 years later, after the musical became known worldwide).

I was lucky to have gotten a highlights copy of the original album back then ( which companion full cast recording was likely released at around the same time). Valjean was a baritone role, Fantine sang the song (L'Air de la Misere) which used the melody of On My Own. But songs like A La Volonte du Peuple ( Do You Hear the People Sing), Demain (One Day More), J'avais Reve D'Une Autre Vie (I Dreamed a Dream) and other iconic songs from the musical were already there, except Bring Him Home and Empty Chairs at Empty Tables ( which were introduced at the Barbican). I saw the 1991 Mogador production, but that was already based on the Mackintosh/Nunn reimagined production.



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_Mis%C3%A9rables_(musical)



Is Les Miserables popular in France?
Posted by Reginald Tresilian 2013-02-27 19:24:09


I always found it interesting that the final line of "I Dreamed a Dream" shows up as the second in "J'avais reve." That must make it way harder to act the song.

Is Les Miserables popular in France?
Posted by EricMontreal22 2013-02-27 19:54:41


Yeah, I believe the French production subsequent to the concept album was seen as a huge success for the time--given that musicals weren't all that popular in France, it outdid expectations. As mentioned, it was staged as a series of Tableux Vivants--apparently a popular form at the time, without much connection between scenes (It was rightfully assumed that the audience knew the basic story). Cam Mac in his recent interview about the origins for The Guardian was wrong, or mis-remembers though when he says that the French version ended at the barricades. It doesn't have the prologue (pre At The End of the Day) and a number of other songs, but it goes through to Valjean's death.

I quite like the French album--partly cuz I love the cheesy synths (even more dated than thte London originals.) Boubil's lyrics are better than Kretzmer's Engish lyrics, but they're also less specific more like French pop/poetry (partly I guess, again, cuz they assumed audiences knew the story).

The current New Yorker has a short piece in their Talk of the Town section interviewing Kretzmer, who, while they say he maintains a friendly relationship with Boubil (he did the English lyrics for him for the Legrand musical Marguerite a few years back) sounds incredibly bitter. Maybe rightly so, as much as I think he's a sub-par lyricist, he points out just how little of his work was a direct translation, and also how so many songs, like Stars, weren't even in French so were all his doing lyric wise. Apparently Cam Mac insisted on giving him an "Adaptation" insstead of co-author credit, which almost made him seek legal action--and a recent BBC docu on the musical didn't even mentionhim.

Is Les Miserables popular in France?
Posted by SporkGoddess 2013-02-28 10:11:32


The movie of Les Miz does not reflect the Victor Hugo we are taught here, at all. It is 2 hrs 30 minutes of heavy crying scenes. The books of les Miz are a lot more than that.

I'm American but I can completely agree with that. I love the Les Mis musical, but the novel is a masterpiece and the musical will never even approach its brilliance IMO.

Is Les Miserables popular in France?
Posted by mrcacou 2013-02-28 11:05:18


About the French Original Album, it was a concept cast with all the popular pop singers of that time. That is a part of why it was a success then.

Is Les Miserables popular in France?
Posted by EricMontreal22 2013-02-28 13:00:48


I'd change that to *some*. Still, it was a bigger success on its own terms than, say, the Whistle Down the Wind concept album or the Aida one which also features "all of the popular singers." (Granted both albums did each have huge singles, at least in the UK, but the sales reflected were more on that specific artists' album than on the concept recording).