Lumière is an online library of film clips for language and culture instruction at non-profit institutions.

Originally known as the Library of Foreign Language Film Clips, the database was created by the Berkeley Language Center in 2008. Today, it contains 20,624 clips drawn from 6,927 films in 65 languages.

Each clip in the database is tagged for appropriate linguistic, cultural, and discourse information contained in the clip. Most of the spoken language in the clip is also tagged in dictionary form. Therefore, instructors can search for terms (e.g., wedding, apology, persuasion, crime, idiom, etc.) that might be relevant for their curriculum to generate a list of clips that have this feature in the clip. Instructors can then place any clips of interest into their queue, they can annotate those clips, and then “order” them. Within an hour they receive an email with a URL for those clips, which they then put into the campus’ Learning Management System, from where their students gain access.

In addition to the video, instructors have the option of showing the clips with the dictionary form of the vocabulary spoken, a slowed audio track of the video (the student can toggle between the two), a description of the clip content, and information about the film; they may also add comments or questions to the clip. After a set time frame chosen by the instructor, the URL link to each clip expires. Clips can be reordered (a new URL is generated), and each instructor’s order history is maintained on the site to facilitate reordering of clips.

Cornell language educators who are interested in using Lumière need to apply for an account at, using their institutional email address. Only those films on DVD/Blu-ray which Cornell University has purchased or has received in permanent donation and to which any Cornell instructor has access will be so indicated on Lumière's website.

All Lumière users must agree to the following terms of use:

  • Lumière is to be used to provide access to clips and films as part of instruction at not-for-profit educational institutions in credit-bearing courses only. It should never be used as club activity, for public viewing, or for research (e.g., dissertation writing). Faculty may preview films/clips intended for use in course material.
  • Access is given only to faculty teaching credit-bearing courses. Faculty includes professors and lecturers; graduate students may have access while they are employed by the university to teach a course or are assisting faculty to teach a course; staff who are directly assisting faculty in managing materials for a course (e.g., library or tech staff) may also have an account.
  • The URLs for clips must be posted to the campus Learning Management System (LMS), so that students must be authenticated by the LMS. Faculty will not forward emails with URLs to students. Faculty will also not share their accounts with others.
Current as of 12/8/2021