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A Short Story of a Language

A 27' documentary directed in 2000 by Benoît Peeters

From the Gaulois to the Internet, the French language has had an eventful history, of which the film tells a few essential periods. As Bernard Cerquiglini explains it, far from any desires of purity, French is a "Creole that made it", an inextricable mixture of influences. Thanks to the participation of Jean-Marie Klinkenberg from Belgium and of Andrée-Marie Diagne-Bonané from Senegal, the films avoids a point of view that could be otherwise too "French".

A language is not static ; its story matches up with History. Historical facts are punctuated with "words", from "Paris is worth a mass" to "Long live free Quebec". A language is not neutral, its history is essentially political : from French centralism and colonisation, to the gradual creation of a real French speaking area… The language is political : it is a permanent fight, a power struggle. It is the history of men, with its treaties and its wars, its glorious and dark hours, the history of countries and their civilisation.

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