J’invente, tu inventes, elle invente …

October 3, 2009

The French will claim to have invented all sorts of things if you let them. A Frenchman may or may not have invented the motor car. They lay claim to football and cricket (yes – cricket! is nothing sacred?) During a drunken conversation, a French student once went so far as to tell me that the French had invented bread. Surely that got a mention in the Bible, I ventured? Didn’t that suggest that the staff of life predated modern France? Or had a Frenchman written that too?

One thing that the French definitely were pretty much responsible for was the pop video. In the 1960s, when Hamburg, London and all points west were an unquenchable market for live bands, France fell in love with the Scopitone, a sort of video juke box found in cafes. At the same time as your record played, a film, normally of the artist “performing” or “interpreting” his or her hit, was shown on a small, built-in screen. 

Knowing and admiring your love of French popular culture, I have unearthed, on Youtube.fr, Sylive Vartan performing La Locomotion, the French version of Little Eva’s hit.

As this charming little “clip” makes clear, the French may have been world leaders in film-making and music video technology, but in the art of lip-synching they still had some way to go …

Like this? Try these. 

Je grimace, tu grimaces, elle grimace … 

Je présente, tu présentes, elle présente … 

J’écoute, tu écoutes, elle écoute …


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