European Day of Languages

All About My Mother
All About My Mother

Film represents a valuable tool to support language learning; students will find themselves engaged by the characters, story, and representation of culture as well as absorbing how the language is spoken.

Useful to increase vocabulary and improve pronunciation as well as enhancing listening skills, this selection of films represents the most widely studied Modern Foreign Languages as well as celebrating the film culture of France, Spain and Germany. 

The Red Balloon (Le Ballon Rouge)

CertU

Age group5–14

Duration34 mins

The Red Balloon (Le Ballon Rouge)(1956)

One of the greatest children's films of all time, this much-loved (mostly dialogue-free) French movie is about a young boy and his toy balloon.

This charming, largely non-dialogue classic short film following Pascal and his balloon is a great way to introduce French language learning.

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Ernest and Celestine

CertU

Age group5–11

Duration77 mins

Ernest and Celestine(2012)

A beautiful animation about an unlikely friendship between a big clown bear and a clever orphan mouse, from the makers of A Town Called Panic!

A sweet French film about overcoming differences, this animated film has little dialogue and is easy for young language learners to follow.

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Belle et Sébastien (Belle & Sebastian)

CertPG

Age group11–16

Duration96 mins

Belle et Sébastien (Belle & Sebastian)(2013)

An epic tale of the friendship between a boy and a dog.

Touching on World War Two history as well as French, this adventure story unites an orphaned boy and an abandoned mountain dog as they stand up to the Nazis advancing on their village.

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La Belle Et La Bete

CertPG

Age group7+

Duration99 mins

La Belle Et La Bete(1946)

Inventive and magical French version of the Beauty and The Beast fairy tale, with effects that must be seen to be believed.

This stunningly surreal adaptation of the traditional tale will enchant young viewers, and the familiarity of the classic story will enable deeper engagement with the French language.

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Zarafa

CertPG

Age group7–11

Duration76 mins

Zarafa(2012)

Stunning animation about a young Sudanese boy’s escape from slave traders and his incredible and perilous journey to Paris with an orphaned giraffe.

This gorgeous animation not only aids French language learning but is also a useful resource for Black History Month. Loosely based on real events, it follows a young boy escaped from slave traders who accompanies a giraffe gifted to the king of France.

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Petit Nicolas

CertPG

Age group7–11

Duration88 mins

Petit Nicolas(2009)

A hilarious French comedy about young Nicolas whose parents consider abandoning him in a forest when they learn they are expecting a baby!

Based on the series of children’s books, this film brings to life the point of view of Nicolas, a young boy growing up in 1950s France who often misinterprets the actions of the adults in his world and as a result gets himself and his friends into all sorts of scrapes!

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Carlitos y el campo de los sueños (Carlitos and the Chance of a Lifetime)

CertPG

Age group7–14

Duration107 mins

Carlitos y el campo de los sueños (Carlitos and the Chance of a Lifetime)(2008)

Sweet-natured Spanish film about a talented young footballer whose plans go awry when prospective parents visit the orphanage where he is living.

In this Spanish film, football-obsessed orphan Carlitos nearly sabotages his chances of adoption through his devotion to the game! A fun and accessible way to engage with the Spanish language.

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El Juego (The Game)

CertUnclassified

Age group7–14

Duration5 mins

El Juego (The Game)(2014)

Spanish short film about a young girl playing a game with instructions that become more challenging as she goes on.

This short film centres around a mysterious game where a young girl must follow instructions in order to reveal a secret message. A great watch for pupils to reinforce Spanish vocabulary around directions.

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Max Minsky and Me (Max Minsky und Ich)

CertPG

Age group7–14

Duration94 mins

Max Minsky and Me (Max Minsky und Ich)(2007)

German language comedy about a bookish girl who enlists the help of the boy next door to make it onto her school basketball team.

This gentle German comedy about Nelly, a girl who schemes to meet her hero by making it onto her school basketball team also deals with the issues of growing up, as Nelly faces up to her bat mitzvah.

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Alamar

CertU

Age group7+

Duration70 mins

Alamar(2009)

Unusual and haunting documentary following a fisherman's bid to keep alive the bond with his son despite the distance and culture that divide them.

A beautiful, thoughtfully paced Spanish language film about a young boy who spends the summers with his fisherman father in a remote hut in Mexico. Adjusting to a different pace of life, the boy bonds with his father and grandfather and makes a strong connection to the natural world that surrounds him. With little dialogue, this film is a gentle introduction to the language.

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Valentin

CertPG

Age group7–14

Duration81 mins

Valentin(2002)

Tender-hearted Spanish-language drama about an eight-year-old boy who dreams of becoming an astronaut.

This Argentinian comedy is set in the 1960s and focuses on a young boy who is desperate to have a family just like those of his friends – but his father keeps bringing back women that Valentin isn’t sure will fit the bill as a new mother.

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El Juego (The Game)

CertUnclassified

Age group7–14

Duration5 mins

El Juego (The Game)(2014)

Spanish short film about a young girl playing a game with instructions that become more challenging as she goes on.

This short film centres around a mysterious game where a young girl must follow instructions in order to reveal a secret message. A great watch for pupils to reinforce Spanish vocabulary around directions.

Read more
Max Minsky and Me (Max Minsky und Ich)

CertPG

Age group7–14

Duration94 mins

Max Minsky and Me (Max Minsky und Ich)(2007)

German language comedy about a bookish girl who enlists the help of the boy next door to make it onto her school basketball team.

This gentle German comedy about Nelly, a girl who schemes to meet her hero by making it onto her school basketball team also deals with the issues of growing up, as Nelly faces up to her bat mitzvah.

Read more
Alamar

CertU

Age group7+

Duration70 mins

Alamar(2009)

Unusual and haunting documentary following a fisherman's bid to keep alive the bond with his son despite the distance and culture that divide them.

A beautiful, thoughtfully paced Spanish language film about a young boy who spends the summers with his fisherman father in a remote hut in Mexico. Adjusting to a different pace of life, the boy bonds with his father and grandfather and makes a strong connection to the natural world that surrounds him. With little dialogue, this film is a gentle introduction to the language.

Read more
Valentin

CertPG

Age group7–14

Duration81 mins

Valentin(2002)

Tender-hearted Spanish-language drama about an eight-year-old boy who dreams of becoming an astronaut.

This Argentinian comedy is set in the 1960s and focuses on a young boy who is desperate to have a family just like those of his friends – but his father keeps bringing back women that Valentin isn’t sure will fit the bill as a new mother.

Read more
Pan's Labyrinth

Cert15

Age group14+

Duration118 mins

Pan's Labyrinth(2006)

Outstanding fantasy grounded in a Spanish Civil War setting, about a girl who discovers a magical maze at her ruthless stepfather's remote army base.

This surreal fantasy film set during the turbulent 1930s in Spain reframes the horrors of the civil war through the eyes of a young girl whose nightmares make more sense than the reality that surrounds her.

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All About My Mother

Cert15

Age group16+

Duration99 mins

All About My Mother(1999)

Uplifting tale of Manuela, a mother who decides to relocate to Barcelona after her son's sudden death.

A bereaved mother returns to her hometown to process her grief and reconnect with her past in this moving and vibrant film from Spanish auteur Pedro Almodóvar.

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The Golden Dream

Cert12

Age group14+

Duration108 mins

The Golden Dream(2013)

Unconventional road movie about a group of undocumented teen Guatemalan migrants and their perilous journey to a new life in the US.

Three Guatemalan teenagers begin a perilous journey towards the US border in the hope of a better life, becoming friends with an indigenous Mexican boy who doesn’t speak Spanish en route. As they confront the dangers of the trip, they bond and attempt to overcome the language barrier.

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Wakolda (The German Doctor)

Cert12

Age group11+

Duration90 mins

Wakolda (The German Doctor)(2013)

A gripping drama set in Patagonia about a little girl who befriends a visiting German doctor with a dark secret.

Uncovering the little-known history of the escaped Nazi war criminals in the aftermath of World War Two, this story of an unconventional friendship between a young girl with growth problems and a German doctor she meets at a resort is useful both for history and language study.

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The Spirit Of The Beehive

CertPG

Age group14+

Duration93 mins

The Spirit Of The Beehive(1973)

A wonderfully evocative portrait of childhood innocence and obsession set in 1940s Spain.

Beautiful Spanish film about a young girl who, entranced by the magic of cinema, mistakes a runaway soldier for the Frankenstein of the film she’s just watched. An evocative glimpse into the impact of the Civil War and the subsequent Fascist dictatorship, seen through the eyes of a child.

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Bande De Filles (Girlhood)

Cert15

Age group14+

Duration110 mins

Bande De Filles (Girlhood)(2014)

Energetic and honest coming-of-age drama about a teenager’s new friendship with a group of girls in the suburbs of Paris.

French drama about Mariéme, a girl from a difficult home who after failing school falls in with a new friendship group who encourage her pursue a different path. However, the responsibilities of her old life still weigh heavy on her, and the independence encouraged by her new friends is not without its difficulties.

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Amelie

Cert15

Age group16+

Duration117 mins

Amelie(2001)

A heartwarming and charisma-packed story about a young woman who decides her mission in life is to spread happiness.

Charming French romantic comedy about a young woman who has decided to view life through rose-tinted spectacles, aiming to make special connections in everything she does.

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La Haine

Cert15

Age group14+

Duration94 mins

La Haine(1995)

Fast, frantic film about three friends from the ghettos of the Paris suburbs, where life is portrayed as being violent and unjust.

Taut thriller shot in black and white about a group of friends who take possession of a policeman’s gun which was lost during riots in the suburbs of Paris, who must decide what to do with the weapon.

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8 Women

Cert15

Age group14+

Duration106 mins

8 Women(2002)

Delightfully colourful French musical about a family gathered together for Christmas.

Tongue-in-cheek French musical focused on a locked-door murder mystery at the family home of a dysfunctional clan and their dissatisfied household staff.

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La cour de Babel (School of Babel)

CertPG

Age group11+

Duration84 mins

La cour de Babel (School of Babel)(2014)

Insightful documentary following immigrant children in France as they learn to speak French in a special class in Paris.

This documentary explores the learning trajectory over an academic year of a group of teenagers from all over the world as they meet for their regular lesson in French as a second language.

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The Class

Cert15

Age group14+

Duration124 mins

The Class(2008)

Director Laurent Cantet's riveting, Palme d'Or winning drama chronicles a year in the life of a rough school in a working class suburb of Paris.

This French social realism drama, based on a teacher’s autobiography, reveals the highs and lows of taking a new class of young people whose attention needs to be won and respect earned.

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Goodbye Lenin!

Cert15

Age group16+

Duration121 mins

Goodbye Lenin!(2003)

Enjoyable German comedy about a family's elaborate schemes to keep the fall of the Berlin Wall from their ill mother.

The transition from Communism to Capitalism after the fall of the Berlin Wall is explored in this comedy about a family who must hide regime change from their mother who has emerged from a coma.

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The Lives Of Others

Cert15

Age group14+

Duration137 mins

The Lives Of Others(2006)

Highly-acclaimed Oscar-winning drama about corruption and surveillance in Communist East Germany.

Thrilling German drama about a Stasi officer who discovers his surveillance mission is ethically compromised. Revealing the recent history that has shaped a generation, this fascinating film is of interest to history and politics students as well as German language learners.

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Berlin '36

CertPG

Age group11–16

Duration97 mins

Berlin '36(2009)

German drama showcasing the experience of two athletes in the lead-up to the Berlin-hosted 1936 Olympics, based on a true story.

This historical drama explores the strange but true story of a male athlete brought in during the 1936 Olympics to challenge Germany’s best female high-jumper, because she was Jewish.

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Die Welle (The Wave)

Cert15

Age group14+

Duration105 mins

Die Welle (The Wave)(2008)

In an attempt to instruct his students about the dangers of fascism and autocracy, a German high-school teacher stages a bold experiment.

This German psychological drama investigates the mechanics behind the imposition of dictatorship in a high-school experiment that proves disturbingly effective.

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Downfall

Cert15

Age group14+

Duration149 mins

Downfall(2004)

The last days of WWII inside Hitler's bunker as the Fuhrer loses grip on reality and the Soviets approach, as told by his secretary.

Dramatic recreation of Hitler’s last days inside the bunker that he retreated to as defeat became inevitable. This tense, claustrophobic drama supports history learning as well as German.

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This Ain't California

Cert15

Age group14+

Duration100 mins

This Ain't California(2012)

A German documentary that gives a fascinating insight to the 80s skating subculture of East Berlin.

The challenges of pursuing their passion for skating from behind the Iron Curtain is explored in this documentary, which nostalgically recreates the small acts of subversion committed by young East Germans to keep up with their West German and American counterparts.

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