“You can’t take for granted how things come to be.”
So begins French Enough, a thoughtful and engaging short film by Fransaskoise singer-songwriter, filmmaker, and RVF spokesperson Alexis Normand.
Filmed at her family’s cottage at Lake Wakaw, Saskatchewan, Alexis invites us to join her family as they talk about belonging, bilingualism, intentionality, and the struggles and victories of reclaiming their French-speaking Canadian identities together.
Alexis’s family is linguistically exogamous; her mother is an anglophone, and her father comes from a French family. In a recent NFB blog post, Alexis describes feeling that she and her family were “incomplete francophones” because they were not “100 percent “de souche” (of pure French origin).”
Her father’s French was limited, at least in part, by the lack of French in the educational system of the time. In the film, he tells us that his French only grew when he had children of his own. Alexis’s mother speaks of her challenges as an anglophone parent forced to sit on the sidelines of her children’s francophone schooling experience. Everyone in the family has their own joys, their own pains, their own experience of the francophonie.
The film ends on a joyful note as Alexis describes, with a huge smile, how her nieces now “move in and out of two languages with such freedom their parents did not know.“
Image: National Film Board
Catherine Fisher, blogger