Everybody’s Chattin’ + Question of the Week: Favorite French Film(s)


Glad it’s Thursday already, ya gotta love a short work week 🙂 Well it’s kinda an uneventful week in terms of movie screening. There’s the Bradley Cooper rom-com ALOHA which I’m really not interested in, and I also have zero interest in seeing San Andreas. But I am excited to see SPY next week. I’m not really a fan of Melissa McCarthy but the trailer is a hoot! Plus, there Jason Staham AND Jude Law? I’m SO there.

Ok, now let’s get to those linky dinky…

Mark and Tom have been hosting their Decades Blogathon series on their respective blogs. The reviews have been excellent, check ’em out if you haven’t already.

Jordan reviewed Gaspar Noé‘s fantasy drama from 2009, Enter the Void. He apparently’s been causing quite a stir with his latest film Love [or should it be called lust??]

Josh reviewed Tomorrowland, and he’s one of the few who actually loved the movie

Stu reviewed a John Hughes’ classic The Breakfast Club

Andrew posted one of his 4-Ways Best Picture Bloggers Roundtable, this time focusing films from 2004

Margaret highlights the awesome soundtrack of Mad Max: Fury Road

A couple of notable lists: Katy shared a great find of favorite movie travel posters, whilst Nostra continued posting his Top 100 Films in batches, check out which ones made his list from 40-31.

Time for question of the week!

I’ve quickly become a Francophile now thanks to my current crush Stanley Weber ehm… I’ve been watching a ton of French movies, some even without subtitles! [yes I’m THAT obsessed], but seriously, there’s a whole array of French Cinema out there waiting for me to discover. It just so happens I have one French New Wave film on my Blindspot list, so Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless was the perfect pick for May.

Well, in honor of Cannes that just wrapped this past week, I’m curious how you feel about French Cinema and which are some of your favorite French movies. In the spirit of recommendation, the two I just saw recently were Thérèse Desqueyroux, Violette – where Stanley have a supporting role, and Pour Une Femme (For A Woman) which was screened at MSPFF last year. All of the movies are on Netflix and I’d recommend all three. They so happen that all three are female-centric, which is always welcome in my book.


So what are your favorite French film(s), both classic and contemporary ones?

80 thoughts on “Everybody’s Chattin’ + Question of the Week: Favorite French Film(s)

  1. Thanks for the mention. As for French films I immediately think of Amalie, one I recently saw called Los Combattants, Playtime, Sleepless Night and Les Diaboliques. But there are others 😉

    1. Hi Nostra! I’ve seen Amelie, but will check out the others you have on your list. Les Diaboliques’ been remade in Hollywood I think.

  2. Um, French cinema is the best there is, period…so I’d recommend everything!

    I’ll start with 1962, since I’m obsessed with this year right now:

    Jules and Jim
    Sundays with Cybele
    Last Year at Marienbad
    Le Doulos

    And then you have like everything from Godard (I recommended a few in your Blind Spot post) as well as Truffaut (who directed Jules and Jim)…

    And of course DOLAN!!!! MOMMY!!! LAURENCE ANYWAYS!!! HEARTBEATS!!! Like, it’s Canada and not France, but it’s FRENCH!

    Also, I love Declaration of War, Blue is the Warmest Color, Rust + Bone, anything from The Dardennes and of course the bulk of the glorious Cotillard’s work!

    Also…thanks for the link 😀

    1. Ahah, LOVE your enthusiasm Drew!! I’m finding out just how awesome French cinema is [and of course those French actors ♥ oh la la!]

      Thanks for your recommendations. I will check out those from 1962 and check out at least one of Dolan’s work. At first glance it doesn’t seem like my cup of tea, and Blue is the Warmest Color is too explicit for my taste. I will get to more Cotillar’s work though, because well, she is lovely!

  3. Hey Ruth –

    I am not sure I have enough space to list them (just kidding). Here is my hodgepodge mix of films – old and new:

    1) Girlhood – if you have not seen this – please do – it is on Netflix
    2) 8 Femmes (8 Women)
    3) Swimming Pool
    4) A Single Girl (La Fille seule)
    5) The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Les Parapluies de Cherbourg) – bought the Jacques Demy box set just to get this one BluRay (LOL)
    6) *NEW* Rififi
    7) The Class (Entre Les Murs)
    8) Le Ballon Rouge (The Red Balloon)
    9) Tell No One (Ne les dis a personne)
    10) Les adieux a la reine (Fraewell My Queen) – just for the costuming alone!

    I’ll leave it at ten, but as you can tell I like me some French films!

    1. Well hello Iba! He..he.. you didn’t notice the poster image of Girlhood on my sidebar? I LOVE that movie, saw it last month at MSPFF. I also have seen Farewell My Queen. I so want to see my crush Stanley in a steamy romance w/ Léa Seydoux, oh that’d be scorching! Thanks for the recommendations, I will definitely make a point on checking out as many as I could.

  4. Well, for the few that I’ve seen I’d include on my favorites list (and there’s distinct drift here):
    Wages of Fear (but I’ll admit right now, I prefer William Friedkin’s SORCERER remake)
    La Femme Nikita
    District B13
    Brotherhood of the Wolf
    Le samouraï
    …and of course, The Artist

    1. Oh La Femme Nikita is one I’ve been meaning to watch! I like Le samouraï, been meaning to check out more Alain Delon movies since. Thanks Michael.

    1. Wasn’t Amour got nominated for Oscar a couple of years ago? That’s the one w/ the two older couple right? 400 Blows is another French New Wave I’ve been meaning to check out.

  5. There are so many really good French films out there that it’s just hard to put down a few. From experimental films like Chris Marker’s La Jetee (the basis for Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys), to the surreal Last Year at Marianbad, to a wealth of riches in the New Wave movement, to recent extreme horror like Inside, Them, Haute Tension, Martyrs, Frontier(s) etc., to the best film Hitchcock never made… Les Diaboliques.

    Well Ruth, as I’ve said befor, my favorite French film and one of my all-time faves is Amélie. It never fails to put a smile on my face and put me in a good mood. Yann Tiersen’s music is a perfect compliment to the film. Fun fact: The mayor of Paris was so pleased with the film he gave director Jean-Pierre Jeunet the key to the city.

    My favorite classic film would be The Passion Of Joan Of Arc (La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc). It’s a silent film from 1927 but don’t let that dissuade you. In 1981 a film print of Carl Theodore Dreyer’s final cut of the film was discovered in a mental institution in Oslo, Norway, then remastered and re-released. Music from Richard Einhorn and Voices of Light was added and released thru the Criterion Collection. Maria Falconetti’s performance is considered one the greatest in all of film.

    Here’s some others that people may not have seen:

    The Three Colors Trilogy: Red, White, Blue. Even though it was done by the Polish director Krzysztof Kieślowski it was a French production. See them in order Blue, White, Red. The ending of Red gave me goosebumps. One of the greatest trilogies ever made. Trailers don’t even do it justice.

    Time Out (L’emploi du temps). It’s the story of a businessman who loses his job and can’t face his family so he pretends to go to work. Not soon after he gets involves in a scheme that he gets in over his head. What should be a drama plays out like a subtle thriller. What looks boring and slow is quite powerfully directed by Laurent Cantet (The Class). This movie still haunts me to this day. Listen to Jocelyn Pook’s (Eyes Wide Shut) moving score over the trailer.

    Lastly the way, way, way over the top action movie Dobermann starring Vincent Cassel and Monica Bellucci. It’s kind hard to find but brilliant in its excess. You were warned.

    As a bonus I’ll throw in a French TV show that Ruth was so kind to let me write about last year… The Returned. It was as compelling as any movie I saw in recent memory. Don’t be confused and bother with the upcoming American remake (quoting Tim Goodman from The Hollywood Reporter “This ill-advised remake of the original French series is an embarrassment. Go watch the original. This is not a series you should watch…. the painful American version of The Returned, a series you should flee from faster than you fled from the Gracepoint version of Broadchurch… It’s not a series that should be remade — certainly not this dully and without any apparent knowledge of the elements that made the French version great. ” You get the point… LOL) and the similarly themes series on ABC… Resurrection (which I think is now cancelled). The new season is coming up on Sundance later this year and Season 1 it can now be found on Netflix.

    If you want to check out more, here’s the link to the blog post I wrote about The Returned: https://flixchatter.net/2014/01/23/the-returned-les-revenants-your-next-tv-obsession/ .

    1. Really enjoyed Les Revenants – though the ending left be disappointed. Haven’t touched the American remake with a barge pole!

      1. Hi Jaina, I know what you’re saying about the ending. We’ll have to see where Season 2 picks up. I have high hopes for this type of show… mainly because it’s French and not American. LOL.

        1. Haha, share the feeling! Definitely have a different way of handling their TV shows – long drawn out dramas vs. TV shows with instant and unsatisfying pay-offs.

      2. Speaking of French TV have you seen or heard about their TV show Spiral, Jania? I still have to check it out but good news, it’s showing on Netflix. It’s been described as a much darker version of The Wire meets Law & Order with a long story arc, not holding back on the violence and nudity. It follows criminal investigations in Paris from all the different points of view (police, lawyers and judges) of a criminal investigation involving. I’m going to check it out once I get through the 6 seasons of Justified. Whew.

        1. Sounds interesting! I feel so lost without having decent access to Netflix 😦

          And big thumbs up to Justified – by far one of the most solidly excellent TV shows you’ll ever watch. Thoroughly worth watching.

          1. Well I missed the beginning of Justified so I waited until I could binge watch it all (Only on episode 4). I’ve been a huge Walton Goggins fan from The Shield and Timothy Olyphant from Deadwood. I first noticed Olyphant in Go way back in ’99. He was great as the drug dealer. If you’ve never seen Go check it out Jaina. Great turns from Sarah Polly, Jay Mohr, Scott Wolf, the seriously creepy William Fichtner and yes, even Katie Holmes. Look for Melissa McCarthy in her first real role. A lot of fun. I think I’ll watch it today.

            If you wan’t to know how to get Netflix in your country hit me up. Dave.
            a c k _ t h p t @ y a h o o . c o m

            BTW I noticed your last name. Being originally from the UK you by chance aren’t related to the English actor Jimi who actually did a stint on EastEnders?

            1. Go has been on my list of films to check out for a while. Will make a move on it!

              Talking of The Shield, I’ve just started watching it. Justified introduced me to Walton Goggins and I’m on a mission to keep him on my TV somehow!

              Do miss Timothy Olyphant though now, need to check out Deadwood I guess 😉

              1. I’ll give you a recommendation for your Olyphant fill. A Perfect Getaway. I almost didn’t watch it just based on its stupid, generic name. It also stars Milla Jovovich, Steve Zahn and the ever hunky Chris Hemsworth (with no shirt on of course… for the ladies). LOL. Let me you tell you Olyphant shines in this tense, underrated thriller. Quite a pleasant little surprise.

                Last movie recommendation today before I use up all of Ruth’s bandwidth. 🙂

                1. Yes! You know why I one day chose to eat home A Perfect Getaway? Timothy Olyphant and Chris Hemsworth! Yes, it was a fickle choice but totally worth it. Surprised just how much I enjoyed that one. A solid thriller I’d day.

      3. Hi Jaina! It’s so damn annoying that Hollywood is remaking EVERYTHING from Europe, even TV shows! Yeah I refuse to watch the remake, I mean WHY?? Same w/ Broadchurch even w/ Tennant reprising his role. It’s just idiotic.

        1. Think the last one I tried and gave up on was The Bridge. Which actually got remade TWICE. And both are still going, I believe. The original Swedish/Danish production’s due to go into it’s final season this year and it makes me so sad! Fantastic show.

          Trying to think of a foreign remake that was actually better than the original and drawing a big blank. There must be at least one!

          1. Didn’t mean to jump into your conversation but I thought The Departed was much better than the original Hong Kong version, Infernal Affairs. I think I might be in the minority for saying that but I loved Scorsese’s version and I thought the original was excellent.

            1. Jump away! I’ve not seen the original Infernal Affairs yet. Have heard a lot of people say the same thing though. Would like to check it out.

    2. Thanks for your always awesome comment Dave!! A lot of the movies you recommended here have been on my list for some time, esp the Three Colors Trilogy! Haven’t heard of Dobermann but been wanting to check out real-life couple Cassel + Belluci on screen together!

      Oh, I’ve seen some terrific silent film so no, the fact that The Passion Of Joan Of Arc is a silent film does not dissuade me at all. Will check that out soon.

      Oh yes and Les Revenants yes, that sounds great too. I saw Broadchurch based on your recommendation and LOVED it so I have a feeling I’d dig this series too, whenever I get to it.

      Btw, I might’ve mentioned this to you but can’t remember if I did. Have you seen BORGIA Faith & Fear from Canal+? Not the Showtime version, but the Euro production by Tom Fontana: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVXM5sJ6pvA

      I’ve finished season 1 and can’t wait to jump on season 2!

      1. I’ll check out BORGIA Faith & Fear when I get a chance. Thanks for the recommendation. The only thing, watching John Doman in that period piece trailer seemed so out of place. I’m sooooo used to Doman playing the tough guy, authority figure. Google: The Wire | These Are For You McNulty. You’ll see what I mean.

        Having seen Irreversible with Bellucci and Cassel I wouldn’t lump it in with movies like Hostel or other torture porn movies. Sure there’s the infamous fire extinguisher scene and rape scene but despite those there’s some really sweet, intimate scenes between the married actors. Would I recommend it to you… definitely not… but being told in reverse order it ends with seeing how beautiful Bellucci’s life was. Memento was a really clever film with its backward storytelling. Irreversible uses the backwards storytelling technique for emotional impact. It actually ends on a really sad note. While I liked it, it’s not one of those movie I’d be eager to see again. I more than understand your desire to not ever see it.

        If you do ever get around to seeing The Passion of Joan of Arc make sure you see the Criterion release with the music in it. It’s really quite moving.

  6. You know what’s funny, since 2000s, the French has sort of started a new “wave” of films. Many of them were these torture porn such High Tension, Martyrs and Irreversible. Personally I’m not into those graphic violent films anymore.

    As for my favorites I’ll go with some of the ones that I saw, La Femme Nikita, Tell No One (of course an American remake is coming), The Vanishing (I think this one could be a Dutch film but I always think it’s French), Incendies and A Prophet (again an American remake is in development).

    1. Well I definitely will stay away from torture porn. I’ve heard of Irreversible and will avoid it like a plague.

      Tell No One and A Prophet sound good though the latter is quite violent isn’t it?

      1. Irreversible basically copied Nolan’s Memento, style wise I mean. It’s just made for pure shock. I’m not a fan of its director Gaspar Noe, I know he has his fan base but I don’t think he’s that talented.

        No, A Prophet was quite tame for a crime thriller. But I’m quite sure the American remake, they’ll crank up the violence to please the action crowd.

        1. Roger Ebert has an interesting take on Irreversible that I implore you to read. He sums up the film better than I can about my thoughts on the film:

          Ted I completely understand how you feel about Gaspar Noe. I would say he is an acquired taste not unlike Lars von Trier. I think he’s better than a hack though IMHO.

          As far a copying other directors De Palma and especially Tarantino are some of the most notorious directors at copying other films and directors. While you know about De Palma and his Hitchcock “obsession” (pun intended…) Tarantino is the most egregious by far going all the way back to Reservoir Dogs. I like Quentin but at what point is it a homage or copying? I kind of have mixed feelings about his films sometimes. See below:

          BTW as you probably saw in Ebert’s article Harold Pinter’s film/play Betrayal (Jeremy Irons, Ben Kingsly) did the whole backwards thing way back in ’83. Just sayin’. 😉

  7. Adding to ones already mentioned:

    Jean de Florette/Manon of the Spring (1986)
    Children of Paradise (1945)
    La Bete Humaine (1938)
    A Very Long Engagement (2004)
    Day for Night (1973)
    Le Samourai (1967)
    Cyrano de Bergerac (1990)
    Au Revoir Les Enfants (1987)
    and for a change of pace, a film with over the top action – District B13 (2004)

    I’m not sure if French Canadian films count, but from among those I’d recommend:

    The Barbarian Invasions (2003)
    Incendies (2010)

    1. Hi Chip! Yes French Canadian films count. Thanks for the recommendations. Cool that you mentioned Cyrano de Bergerac which also stars my crush Stanley’s father, Jacques Weber 🙂

      I have seen Le Samourai, that’s an excellent, minimalist thriller!

  8. thanks for the mention Ruth! 🙂

    I still need to watch a TON of old French cinema, these comments are a goldmine for recommendations!

    I did reeeeally like Matthiu Amalric’s latest film, The Blue Room. It is like an erotic thriller, highly original. Oh and la Grande Illusion is a must watch

    1. You’re most welcome Jordan! Well you might want to jot down some of the recommendations here 🙂 Grande Illusion sounds interesting, gotta look that up.

  9. Thank you for the link! ❤
    My experience with French Cinema is not that strong, so my two picks would be tied between Amelie and La Vi En Rose – the only two that I've seen. lol

    1. My pleasure!

      OMG, I still haven’t seen La Vie En Rose even though I LOVE that song AND miss Cotillard. Better get to that soon. I have seen Amelie a while ago and it’s lovely.

  10. Mon dieu! This is going to be very long…. Children of Paradise, Rules of the Game, The 400 Blows, Vivre Sa Vie, Last Year at Marienbad, Bande a Parte, Breathless, Jules & Jim, Two English Girls, Day for Night, The Wild Child, Eyes Without a Face, The Last Metro, Mauvais Sang, The Lovers on the Bridge, Amelie, The City of Lost Children, Holy Motors, Amour, Rust for Bone, A Prophet, 8 Women, Under the Sand, In the House…. I think that’s it for now.

    1. I knew I can count on you Steven! WHOA that’s quite a list, now I’ve seen Amelie, Holy Motors, & Breathless, so which three out of these you think I absolutely can’t miss?

  11. jackdeth72

    Hi, Ruth:

    Answer(s) to Question of the Week:

    ‘Elevator To The Gallows’. Mentioned it last night in a reply.
    ‘Rififi’: Superb heist film with an incredibly suspenseful 32 minute heist. Without a single word of dialog!
    ‘Le Femme Nakita’. Stay away from the later Americanized, ‘Point of No Return’.
    ‘Wages Of Fear’. I’m with Michael and his preference for Friedkin’s ‘Sorcerer’. Both are desperate “Sweaty Men Films”. But Friedkin excels in suspense!

    1. Hi Kevin! Rififi sounds great, I like heist movies. Ahah, I actually have seen Point of No Return, I bet it’s inferior to Le Femme Nikita but I like Gabriel Byrne in it.

  12. I don’t watch much French films so I do have whole lot to add to the conversation. 🙂 But from some of the movies listed above by commenters, I really liked Le Femme Nikita (the TV series were good too) and Amour is heartbreaking. And I’ve always been curious about The Three Colors Trilogy.

    1. Personally I thought Blue was a little slow but It’s a remarkable piece of filmmaking. Seen in the right order Blue, White, then Red it culminates in in a brilliant ending that really makes the whole trilogy. The final shot of the film is just absolutely stunning.

    2. I’m not that interested in Amour to be honest w/ you, but La Femme Nikita’s been on my list for some time. Same w/ Three Colors Trilogy!

  13. French cinema is something i really want to explore more of. Mesrine is one of my favourites. Great French film. For kicks I like The Crimson Rivers – it’s totally ridiculous, but fun flick.

    1. Oh I saw the trailer for Mesrine, whoa that’s pretty brutal. Cassel is one scary gangsta in that flick. I’ll see what Crimson Rivers is about.

      1. Crimson Rivers involves nuns, nazis, Cassel and Jean Reno. You can’t go wrong 😉

        Mesrine is brutal – almost tough to watch but an incredible couple of films.

    1. Thanks Chris! Rust & Bone is one I’ve been keen on checking out. LOVE miss Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts has been getting some attention in Hollywood lately.

  14. Izzy

    The Intouchables. Without doubt one of my favourite films of all time! Not even favourite FRENCH film…..A must watch!

    1. Hi Izzy! Oh I’ve seen Intouchables and indeed it’s a wonderful film! Btw, how’s that article coming along? No rush by any means, just wondering 🙂

  15. Jules & Jim, Amour, The Diving Bell and The Butterfly…too many good ones to list and I think I’m always adding\changing the list anyway. I watch a lot because like you I can watch a foreign film without subtitles, and that’s always a relief.

    1. Oh I don’t usually watch foreign films without subtitles, I mean the only French words I know are ‘oui’ and ‘bonjour’ ahahahaha. I only watched it because I’m madly in love w/ Stanley.

  16. Thanks for the mention Ruth, very kind of you!
    My favourite (older) French film is probably Le Samourai, but I like Truffaut’s most famous films too. In more recent times I’d say anything Jacques Audiard has made (but particularly The Beat That My Heart Skipped and A Prophet, which I think are both brilliant). I also liked Mesrine (both parts) and La Haine.

    Oh and Girlhood is a pretty good recent addition!

    1. Looking at earlier comments…I can’t believe I forgot Amelie (plus another favourite Jeunet/de Caro film, Delicatessen). Also really like The Big Blue and Amour.

    2. My pleasure Stu! Oh I just saw a movie w/ Romain Duris, he’s a great actor. I almost watched The Beat That My Heart Skipped a year ago, not sure why I still haven’t seen it. How violent is A Prophet? That’s been on my radar too. I’ve seen Amelie, lovely film!

      1. A Prophet has some violent scenes…so does The Beat That My Heart Skipped (though that’s relatively not too bad). I like Duris a lot but the last film I saw him in was a cheesy rom com that was terrible!

  17. Thank you for the link! i cannot wait for Spy, I love Melissa and Jason! You should check out Melanie Laurent’s Respire – it’s really excellent

    1. You’re welcome Margaret! Jason looks hilarious in the SPY trailers, looks like he’s making fun of his own preposterous action roles. I like Melanie Laurent, she’s lovely, so yeah I’ll check out Respire.

  18. Brittani

    I love French films. Ameile, Blue is the Warmest Color, Water Lilies, Tomboy, there’s so many great ones.

  19. Thanks as always for the publicity; the blogathon was a lot of fun. I’ll be honest, Spy looks terrible from what I’ve seen so far! As for fave French films, well, you can’t beat The 400 Blows!

    1. You’re most welcome! I actually laughed a lot watching the SPY trailer, I figure it’ll be silly good fun like that Kingsman movie. I’ll put 400 Blows on my next Blindspot list!

    1. Hi Fernando! Oooh, two of the Marion Cotillard movies you mention are already on my to-watch list, love her! I’ve seen Amelie and Intouchables, those are terrific!

  20. Thanks for the link! 🙂

    The Diving Bell and the Butterfly has an American director, but it’s in French, so that’d be one of my modern favorites, as would The Lovers on the Bridge, Holy Motors, and Summer Hours. Classic favorites include A Woman Is a Woman, The Wages of Fear, and The Rules of the Game.

    1. You’re most welcome josh! I’ve been hearing lots of good stuff about The Lovers on the Bridge, plus that title alone sounds so enchanting!

Join the conversation by leaving a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s