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Pouvant faire...


I'm having a bit of difficulty reading this film synopsis (I watched it last night)


It's this sentence that is causing me problems: " Il fréquente Serge, chef d'un groupuscule d'extrême droite pouvant faire penser à une cellule de l’OAS (Organisation armée secrète). "

He goes to see Serge, leader of a small extreme right group ...

pouvant - present participle of pouvoir

faire penser à - to make thing of

I think it's meaning is "could make one think of" or " may be taken for'' - something like that but I'm not quite sure.

any help? :-)

January 22, 2015



Your analysis is good (ignoring the small typo which I know you can't fix) -

faire penser à - to make [one] think of

So, I would translate it as:

"... leader of a small extreme right-wing group, reminiscent of an OAS cell."

In fact, on checking my Collins Robert, it gives a possible translation of:

"... reminiscent of ..." as "... qui fait penser à ...".

If you want the full "... pouvant faire penser à ...", I would say "... possibly reminiscent of ...", but that's a bit subtle in English.


Argh! ''It's'' again! I know the difference but my fingers don't! ;-)

Reminiscent of... Yes that's much better! I sort of had the sense of it but couldn't quite wrap it up. Thanks!

I guess ''faisant penser à'' would give the sense of ''reminiscent of'' without the added subtlety of ''pouvoir''?


Your guess is correct.

The problem I see matching French and English is "reminiscent of" can mean either:

stimulating memories of (it is intended to be representative of an OAS cell)


drawing comparisons with (it is similar to but different from an OAS cell).

The French "... pouvant faire penser à ..." feels closer to the second meaning to me, "... faisant penser à ...", closer to the first.


And I presume all this verbal ❤❤❤❤❤-footing around whether it is or is not an OAS cell is down to the fictitious persons disclaimer, e.g:

All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.


Sounds right. In the film I think it was pretty much implied that this was the case but the wiki author may have been avoiding a definitive statement.

Pretty good movie incidentally - nice punchy sparse dialogue so quite easy to follow most of the time.

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