French style, when it comes to movies, is exquisitely unique.
In national culture French cinema has a very important place. French were the pioneers in the cinema industry and the first who invented motion-picture technology.
France has always pushed the movies forward from the first start to upgrade but still reminding us what we love about them in the first place. From quality, beauty, poetic, story, unique characters, nature, cast, humour, tragedy… all things which make a certain film good and worth watching.
Here is the video with some of the best scenes in French movies, to give you a little preview of what they can offer:
Amelie: “Times are hard for the dreamers.”
Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Cast: Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz, Rufus
First movie I need to mention is one of my favorites; it is a French classic called Amelie. It has a French charm, amazingly beautiful shots made in the center of Paris, which look so dreamy. Through her kind gestures Amelie shows us that sometimes simple little things that we do for others can bring more happiness than materialistic things we desire to have. The film is full of cheeky jokes, odd observations, I just love the vintage vibes the movie has.
Amelie is a young woman living in the center of Paris, with extraordinary imagination and with a desire to help others find their happiness. When she finds a little box in her apartment, she goes on an adventure to find its owner.
To brighten up the Glass Man’s day, Amélie records a bicycle race for him in which an escaped horse gallops alongside the riders. The Glass Man later makes an oblique reference to the Tour de France, though the footage is from a real race, the Critérium International in 1997.
Children of Paradise/ Les Enfants du Paradis (1943)
Plot: Paris during July Monarchy in the 19th century. It is a story of a beautiful woman and four men, who seduce her with their love.
Movie is worth watching not only because of the plot, but because of the real French charm that this black and white classic brings. You will see cinematic touches, witty script, design, beauty, art, exceptional performers that will dazzle you into the film and leave you wondering. I specially recommend the movie to all those who want to see the original French movie.
The 400 Blows/ Les Quatre Cents Coups (1959)
»I lie… but only once in a while. At times, if I told the truth, they wouldn’t believe me. So, I tell lies.”
Director: Francois Trauffault
Cast: Jean-Pierre Leaud
Plot: One of the most important movies in the history of French cinema shows the life of a 14-year-old boy Antoine who goes from an unhappy home, not wanted by his mother, to a juvenile detention facility, but never goes out of the troubled path.
The film represents rebellious teenagers in France after the World War II and was praised by critics at the Canes film festival.
Breathless / A bout de souffle (1960)
Crime, drama, romance
Michel: » You’re like women who sleep with everyone, except the one man who loves them.”
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Cast: Jean Paul Belmondo, Jean Seberg
Plot: Michel is a dangerous criminal but also a charming man who gets himself in big trouble when he shoots a policeman. He turns for help to a beautiful American Patricia, who sells New York Tribune on boulevards. Patricia hides Michel in her apartment, while he wants to seduce her.
What makes this movie so great? Well, the script maybe minimalistic and modest, but a love story with a crime in the middle of Paris? There are no sets, only the real city with zero staging, without any additional lighting, only true light, and most importantly, the chemistry between the two main stars is mesmerizing.
Cleo from 5 to 7 (1962)
Cleo: »Nudity should be for everyone, like summer.«
Director: Agnès Varda
Cast: Corinne Marchand, Antoine Bourseiller, Dominique Davray
Plot: Young Parisienne Florence Victoire is a singer with three hit singles. But her life turns around when she goes to test herself for cancer. Her results are being told to her at 18:30. But she already believes that she is sick. Her mind changes and while wandering freely around Paris she notices things she would not before; from the details on strangers and friends and she gets the new perspective on her lyrics in her new song.
It is a movie with an abundance of aesthetics and a natural light of Paris.
La Grande Vadrouille (1966)
Adventure, comedy, action, history
Director: Gerard Oury
Cast: Bourvil, Louis de Funes, Claudio Brook
Plot: Ordinary French people help British bombers, who were shot down by the Germans, to get to the south of France during the World War II. Even if the topic sounds serious, the movie is far from that. Great actors, original humour and jokes taken on French, British and Germans will make you laugh and love this movie.
More of Louis de Funes movies:
If you like this movie, I would strongly suggest next ones, where the lead role has Louis de Funes, one of the best and well known French actors.
The troops of Saint Tropez (1964)
Summer vibes with a funny story about a police at Saint Tropez riviera.
Le cordinaud/The Sucker (1965)
La Folie des Grandeurs/ The delusions of Grandeurs (1971)
Le Grand restaurant (1966)
Visiteurs/ Les Visiteurs (1993)
“Ils ne sont pas nés d’hier. “ (“They weren’t born yesterday.”)
Director: Jean-Marie Poiré
Cast: Christian Clavier, Jean Reno, Valérie Lemercier
French fantasy comedy has made people smile since 1993 and is the one of the highest-grossing films in France.
Plot: It’ s year 1123 and the medieval nobleman Godefroy de Malfete makes a huge mistake and accidentally kills the father of his fiancée. To fix things he asks the wizard Eusebius to send him back in time, but the wizard muddles up his potion and accidentally sends Godefroy to year 1992. A confused medieval man tries to return to his original time while he copes with a modern world full of technology.
La Haine (1995)
Director: Mathieu Kassovitz
Cast: Vincent Cassel, Hubert Kounde, Said Taghmaoui
In French suburbia (ghetto) there are three young men, all a little different from each other, and the movie captures their 24 hours. A Jew Vinz, an Arab Said and black boxer Hubert deal with racist and impatient police every day, until there comes a breaking point, when their friend is badly beaten up by the police in the riots.
La Haine is social crime- drama film which was shot with very low budget but still got a lot of commendations by media and critics. Movie has a gritty narrative which reveals the harsh realities at the time it was set.
When watching be careful to notice the beginning and closing scenes!
Lèon: The professional (1994)
Director: Luc Besson
Cast: Jean Reno, Gary Oldman, Natalie Portman
Plot: Mathilda, a 12-year-old girl and the only one alive when her family crosses paths with Leon, a professional hitman. He takes her under his care and by her request teaches her the knowledge needed for her to take revenge on her family’s murderers.
21. century movies
Crime, teen movie, drugs
Director: Houda Benyamina
Cast: Deborah, Jisca Kalvanda, Kevin Mischel
Dounina, a teenage girl, who comes from a difficult background and wants a better life, gets herself in business with a drug dealer Rebecca.
The story is based on real life experience of the director of the movie, Houda Benyamina.
This movie doesn’t show the side of France through rose colored glasses, but in a very realistic way and exposes the real life problem of many teenagers.
Another movie like this is also Girlhood (2014).
The Artist (2011)
Silent film, black and white movie
Clifton: “Beware of your pride, if I may say so sir.”
Director: Michel Hazanavicius
Cast:Jean Dujardin, Berenice Bejo, John Goodman
The Artist won five awards, including Best Picture, making it the first silent feature to win an Academy Award for Best Picture since Wings (1927).
Plot: The artist is a classic of a decade, which shows the golden age of Hollywood. In 1927 the star George Valentin is posing for paparazzi when a young woman Peppy bumps into him. Through the film we can see their chemistry growing even though we don’t hear any wordsfrom them.
And it also has a cute dog in almost every scene.
Blue is the warmest color/La vie d’adele (2013)
Adele: “I am happy. I’m happy with you, like this. It’s my way of being happy.”
Director: Abdellatif Kechiche
Cast: Lèa Seydoux, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Salim Kechiouche
Plot: Adele, a 15 year old girl, finds herself in the middle of the question about her sexual identity. She becomes fascinated by Emily, a girl with blue hair, who is there to take her on a rollercoaster of deep love, sexuality, intensity, discovering herself and also heartbreak.
Maybe the best and most touching 21th century love story.
The intouchables/Intouchables (2011)
Comedy, drama, biography
Driss: “Anyone can change your life, if you let them.”
Directors: Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano
Cast: Francois Cluzet, Omar Sy, Anne Le Ny
Plot: The life of Philippe quadriplegic millionaire is a boring routine and a constant reminder of his inability to walk. But when Driss comes into his life, the lives of both characters change dramatically.
Performance is unbelievably great, the view of Paris in the movie is amazing and life lessons are going to make you think.
Lady J / Mademoiselle de Jonquières (2018)
Drama, 18th century romance
Director: Emmanuel Mouret
Cast: Nataia Dontcheva, Cecile de France, Edouard Baer, Alice Isaaz
Movies based on an 18th-century novel by Diderot are filled with beautiful, over-the-top, ornate sets and costume designs and beautiful scenes in nature. It’s full of music, realistic characters we like to see and meaningful themes about society and real views of relationships.
Plot: The lead character of the movie is an aristocratic widow named Madame de la Pommeraye, who is in her middle-ages but still keeps her young beauty and charm. She falls madly in love with a seducer named Marquis des Arcis. But when he betrays her, she plots a cruel revenge on him.