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French: A Guide to Research

Video databases

                            Each of the following video databases allow you to search or filter videos by language (see instructions below). Check out our Streaming Video Guide for additional searching ideas.

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Examples: French language films in our collections

Watch a French-language Film from our Library Collection


The Battle of Algiers

From: Kanopy database

Description: One of the most influential political films in history, THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS, by Gillo Pontecorvo, vividly re-creates a key year in the tumultuous Algerian struggle for independence from the occupying French in the 1950s. As violence escalates on both sides, children shoot soldiers at point-blank range, women plant bombs in cafes, and French soldiers resort to torture to break the will of the insurgents. Shot on the streets of Algiers in documentary style, the film is a case study in modern warfare, with its terrorist attacks and the brutal techniques used to combat them. Pontecorvo's tour de force has astonishing relevance today.


The Valley Rebels

From Films on Demand database

DescriptionCédric Herrou is a farmer who supports and houses African refugees in the alpine village of Breil-Sur-Roya in southern France. Some regard him as a heroic Good Samaritan, but others—including the French border police and state prosecutor – denounce him as the leader of a band of smugglers, bringing migrants from Italy into France while flouting official border controls. In this video, Herrou and other activists describe why they provide asylum and fight against the illegal deportation of minors back to Italy.

Video screenshot When 2 Worlds CollideQueen Margot / La Reine Margot

From Kanopy database

DescriptionShe is beautiful. She is Catholic. She is the King's sister. She is Marguerite de Valois. Her brothers call her Margot. He is Protestant. They say that he is rude, that he never shaves, that he smells of garlic and sweat. He is Henri de Navarre. They are forced to marry in a political move to reconcile France, ripped apart by the Wars of Religion. Triumphant winner of 5 Cesar Awards and the prestigious Cannes Film Festival Jury Prize.

How to search video databases by language

To search for language-specific videos, follow the advice below for each of our documentary-focused streaming video services.


Academic Video Online 

In the AVON database, click on the button with the filter icon at the top right of the screen (see image below). Scroll down to the Languages option to filter for videos featuring the language of your choice.

AVON filter icon 

Films on Demand

In FOD, click on the "Advanced search" option at the top of the screen. On the advanced search screen, you may have to choose "Videos" type and then scroll down to "Filters" and select your language of choice in the Language dropdown option.

If you hit "Search" with no keyword, all the language-tagged films will be listed in your search results. If you are looking for something specific, type in a keyword in the search box to search for language-specific films with that keyword. 

Films on Demand advanced search



In Kanopy, type a keyword or leave the "Search videos, subjects..." box blank and click on the search icon (see image below). When the search results display, you will see a Language option on the left side of the screen. Click on the language you want and Kanopy will update your search list to reflect that choice.  

Kanopy search by language