9 interesting French documentaries on Netflix

French documentaries

While there are quite a few new movies and shows in French on Netflix, you may not be aware that there are some interesting French documentaries as well! Netflix has really stepped up their game in the past year or two. There is a nice variety of subjects and while they may not all be appropriate for your students, many of them will.

French documentaries about sports

If you are into sports, there are several good French documentaries about athletes. It’s not just soccer that’s included, there are some good basketball documentaries as well! These tend to be more school-appropriate and if your students have heard of the players, they will really enjoy them.

Antoine Griezmann: The Making of a Legend – as the title says, it’s about the soccer star who was part of the 2018 French national team that won the World Cup. The documentary traces his early career and many struggles before he finally got a chance to play at a high level.

Tony Parker The Final Shot – An interesting biography of the NBA star who played for the San Antonio Spurs and won four championships with them. He also played for the French national team He had a brief career as a rap musician, although that isn’t mentioned in the documentary.

Anelka Misunderstood – Anelka is a bad boy of French soccer, and this documentary follows his career and controversies. Quite a few big names appear in the documentary – Omar Sy, Thierry Henry and Didier Drogba.

Les Bleus, Une autre histoire de France – This documentary follows les Bleus for a period of 20 years – 1996 to 2016. The team had quite a few ups and downs during that time, with the high point being their first World Cup win in 1998. It doesn’t just talk about soccer – it also addresses social changes that have affected France during the same period.

French documentaries about music

I play a song each day as my students do their bell work and I take attendance. At the end of the week, we look at the lyrics and watch the music video, then they vote on whether or not they liked the song. I’ve played all three of these artists in my classes and the students are familiar with the singers – I haven’t shown these French documentaries in class, but if your students enjoy music they may like learning more about these musicians.

Gims On the Record – If your students are fans of Congolese singer Gims, they will enjoy this documentary about his career.

Bigflo & Oli Hip Hop Frenzy – This documentary goes backstage with the brothers as they set out on a major tour.

Angèle – An intimate story about the young Belgian singer. It doesn’t focus only on her music and career, but also some of her private life – including her mental health issues that were caused by her sudden fame and by being outed by the press.

French documentaries about events

These French documentaries probably aren’t as appropriate for your classes due to the subject matter. They deal with traumatic topics, so you likely won’t use them in class – or maybe only very limited clips.

November 13 Attack on Paris – A documentary about the terrorist attacks on the Bataclan. This one can definitely be triggering as there is footage from that night and several survivors of the attacks talking about their fears.

The women and the murderer – A true crime documentary about a serial killer in the 1990’s. The interesting part is how they crime was solved – it took the work of several women to track down and convict the murderer and the lack of a DNA database was a hindrance to catching the murderer.

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