French in Action
French in Action is a TV program produced a couple decades ago I think and now available online. It's a difficult course to follow because almost no English is spoken and everybody, except the Professor, speaks at a normal rate of speed.
But each episode centers on a particular subject (e.g., family relationships) like Duolingo. So it may be useful as an adjunct to this program.
To be fair, it has acquired a lot of fans over the years because of the relationship between Mireille and Robert.
I forgot that the first episode was mainly in English. From there on, there is no English at all. The main characters are Mireille (a French college student), her family, and Robert (a young American with a French mother) who is visiting in France. The two meet ...
If I remember correctly, each episode starts with scenes related to the lesson's subject. The Professor then breaks down the lesson into parts. aided by replays of the relevant scenes, film clips, slides. Late in the episode, one is given a chance to repeat some dialogue.
There is a mystery man - and every episode ends with a brief puppet show.
I saw the whole series on TV at least 3 times and it was incredibly, incredibly, incredibly frustrating because everybody speaks at a normal rate of speed (as opposed to the Spanish-language Destinos) and, all too often, there is a lot of background noise (traffic, etc.) I even bought the textbook and tried to follow it that way, but even that was difficult. I managed to understand maybe the first 5-10 lessons by the last time I saw it but the episodes get more difficult over time and, well, they stopped showing it on TV.
I think the last time I saw it, there was CC, which helped some. Glad to hear it is available on YouTube.
@ RemySecor and @jesuisunmonstre. I can see it on Youtube - thank you. (Another little gadget in my resources drawer.) There was a lot of English in the first broadcast so I skipped through it. I'm currently listening (about 8 minutes 30) to the teacher repeating French abbreviations: la fac - faculté, la bibli - bibliothèque. It seems to be very university centred so far. At about 9 minutes 30 on there was a lovely bit where the prof conjugates "manger" with moving pictures.
Encore une fois, merci. (Nice to be able to write in French with no risk of a red cross and "You are wrong".)
I've seen it on public television on WNET in New York. I could never keep track of when it was on. Wasn't the professor a tall, skinny guy? He would occasionally comment on what was going on with Mireille and Robert and use that to explain grammar points if I remember correctly.
Voice of America may be a source of spoken French. They have graded recorded segments of the Chinese broadcasts with transcriptions. At least, they did.
I appreciate the ideas, kimojima. Subtitles for hearing impaired, yes, that would help enormously. As of yesterday couldn't find any though--will get some help there. Yes certainly DVD's, but if video is original English or German, I generally won't watch it in French for a bunch of reasons. I don't buy very many DVD's. I've seen several French-made movies (and a few American ones in French) at the local theater in my time here and all were very humbling-to-frustrating experiences except for The Artist. :-) I'd guess on average I understand between 10 to 25%. I'm not giving up though. I imagine there to be a sort of a tipping point at around 50%. French in Action seems like a great stepping stone--just finished episode 4.