PDA

View Full Version : French language films to recommend



Kneenibble
2011-12-11, 09:01 PM
Hi! As part of my ongoing quest to become a fluent Francophone, I'd like to hear some recommendations -- and I know that there is a good contingent of French speakers and/or film snobs here -- for French-language films I can watch, partly for entertainment, and partly to help my listening comprehension skills.

Anything from the must-see classics of French cinema to recent releases, from pop dramas to bizarrely abstract delights that only the French could dream up -- as long as it's good.

Thanks!

Dumbledore lives
2011-12-11, 09:10 PM
Well I've not watched many French films but I recently saw The City of Lost Children, which was quite good so I can recommend that, and I believe the animated feature the Triplets of Belleville is also quite entertaining, visually at least, though it doesn't feature much dialogue.

Kindablue
2011-12-11, 09:14 PM
The Three (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKA_4iycWq4) Colors (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hxu6my_t4pM&feature=related) Trilogy (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTLlk6FIP3I&feature=related) is mostly in French, and some of the best stuff ever committed to film.

comicshorse
2011-12-11, 09:15 PM
I always loved 'The Horseman on the Roof', a beautifully acted and shot historical romance

Mauve Shirt
2011-12-11, 09:15 PM
The Grand Illusion (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0028950/) is a family favorite. :smallbiggrin:

Serpentine
2011-12-11, 09:31 PM
Amelie - surely I don't need to tell you what this is about? Just in case, it's a romance about a socially-awkward young woman with an active imagination who decides to start improving people's lives through little things.

Angel-A - A man elbows-deep in debt decides to kill himself, but instead ends up saving a 7-foot-tall drop-dead gorgeous blonde woman who then makes it her business to fix his life.

Asterix and Obelix and Cleopatra - It's Asterix and Obelix (played by Gerard Dapedeiu(sp?)). Need I say more? There's also others of this series, but this is the only one I've seen.


Fun fact: all three of these have the same gimpy-armed actor. Apparently he got hit by a train and messed up his arm, but I've never seen a movie where they acknowledged the fact that he does everything one-handed.

Gaius Marius
2011-12-11, 09:44 PM
Since you specified French Language and not merely French movie, I'll pull my nationalist card an recommend a bit of Quebec movies..

IF you want to know a bit more about a mythical aspect of Quebec history, I'd recommend The Rocket (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0460505/), it's english/french

Bon Cop Bad Cop (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0479647/) is also english/french, pretty hilarious. You'll learn to swear in Quebecois, and it's a nice analogy on the whole cultural situation in Canada.


La Grande Seduction (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0366532/) is very funny

C.R.A.Z.Y (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0401085/). is a very, very touching movie. Won many awards here in Quebec.

Le Declin de l'Empire Americain (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0090985/) is more of an intellectual film. It's only discussions regarding society and sex, but it's fun and entertaining as hell.


Les Invasions Barbares (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0338135/) is the follow-up on Le Declin, it won an Oscar and is a very funny yet tearjerking movie

Gaius Marius
2011-12-11, 09:48 PM
Fun fact: all three of these have the same gimpy-armed actor. Apparently he got hit by a train and messed up his arm, but I've never seen a movie where they acknowledged the fact that he does everything one-handed.

You know, I kinda like that. I really appreciate they aren't making an issue over it in any of the movies he's in. It just IS, and it doesn't define his character beyond the reality of his situation.

I am kinda angry at Megan Fox for forcing the studios to hide her physical imperfection with CGI. (Or maybe it's the studio who wanted to hide it). It would go a long way against the cult of Woman Perfection if a perfectly babilicious woman is shown on screen with still a physical disability without making a big deal out of it.

Serpentine
2011-12-11, 10:02 PM
You know, I kinda like that. I really appreciate they aren't making an issue over it in any of the movies he's in. It just IS, and it doesn't define his character beyond the reality of his situation.Oh, for sure. It's great that he hasn't just been slotted into roles of "characters with dodgy arms" and stuff. It's just always a bit surreal to see a character clearly struggling to do something one-armed (have you ever tried to rescue an unconscious 7-foot-tall woman from drowning with only one arm? It doesn't look easy), without any acknowledgement of it. And I don't mean turning the character into "a character with a physical disability", just a throw-away line of "oh and he had a stroke as a kid, thus the arm". It'd be easy, and it seems kinda odd (not necessarily bad) that they never do. I really like that actor, though.

I am kinda angry at Megan Fox for forcing the studios to hide her physical imperfection with CGI. (Or maybe it's the studio who wanted to hide it). It would go a long way against the cult of Woman Perfection if a perfectly babilicious woman is shown on screen with still a physical disability without making a big deal out of it.What imperfection is that?

Zea mays
2011-12-11, 10:41 PM
Well I've not watched many French films but I recently saw The City of Lost Children, which was quite good so I can recommend that, and I believe the animated feature the Triplets of Belleville is also quite entertaining, visually at least, though it doesn't feature much dialogue.

I always liked Delicatessen, an earlier film by the same director as City of Lost Children. Its an absurd post-apocalyptic dark comedy of sorts.

I also love the beautiful and romantic Indochine (sp?).

Kindablue
2011-12-11, 10:50 PM
Le Dîner de Cons is a funny movie.

Serpentine
2011-12-11, 11:40 PM
Hmmm... Is La Cage Aux Folles any good? Thematically I think it'd be up Kneenibble's alley.

Kneenibble
2011-12-12, 12:14 AM
Thank you all very much so far! Keep 'em coming, I have a really eclectic video store nearby that will surprise me if they don't have all these.


Since you specified French Language and not merely French movie, I'll pull my nationalist card an recommend a bit of Quebec movies..

I've heard of Bon Cop Bad Cop before -- it'll be on my list times two. Thanks. Yeah, Québécois material is absolutely fair game too, and I meant it to be included.


Hmmm... Is La Cage Aux Folles any good? Thematically I think it'd be up Kneenibble's alley.

I own that one, actually. It is unprecedently fabulous. Lyesmith got me onto it a year or two ago. :smallbiggrin:

Serpentine
2011-12-12, 12:25 AM
I am so profoundly not surprised.

Kaiser Omnik
2011-12-12, 12:29 AM
Monsieur Lazhar (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2011971/). Very beautiful movie in my opinion. I'm not sure if it's still shown in cinemas in Canada or if it's gonna be released soon in DVD/Blu-ray.

Vacant
2011-12-12, 12:38 AM
Almost everything by Jean-Luc Godard is pretty awesome. Breathless, Pierrot le Fou, Bande à part, etc. All the new wave stuff. Une Femme est une femme is probably my favorite, sentimentally, and still a really fun movie to watch.

Maelstrom
2011-12-12, 04:11 AM
Jean de Florette (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_de_Florette) and Manon des Sources (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manon_des_Sources_(1986_film))

Are still favorites of mine (in addition to many good films already mentioned)...

Also, a bit of fun comedy in more recent films can be found in Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1064932/) and Rien à déclarer (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1528313/)

Ashtar
2011-12-12, 03:41 PM
In Fantasy, we have Le Pacte de Loups, loosely inspired the story of the beast of Gévaudans.

In Thriller, we have Les rivières pourpres, where a policeman investigates a murder in a very strange secluded university.

In Action / Police / Comedy, we have Wasabi. A french policeman goes to japan to meet his ex-girlfriend.

If you would like to watch some independent french production, very violent though and full of swear words, watch Doberman.

Goosefeather
2011-12-12, 04:13 PM
La Haine (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Haine) is very good, although not exactly cheerful watching.

Oh, and Le Vie en Rose (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Vie_En_Rose_(film)), about the life of Edith Piaf.

dehro
2011-12-12, 07:17 PM
In Fantasy, we have Le Pacte de Loups, loosely inspired the story of the beast of Gévaudans.

In Thriller, we have Les rivières pourpres, where a policeman investigates a murder in a very strange secluded university.

In Action / Police / Comedy, we have Wasabi. A french policeman goes to japan to meet his ex-girlfriend.

If you would like to watch some independent french production, very violent though and full of swear words, watch Doberman.
imho..
le pacte des loups is a pile of crap..of which the commercial success I shall never understand.
wasabi is fun
Doberman I shall have to check out...

if I may add a few to the list, not all of them are quality, but some are:

Banlieue 13 - parkour practicing robin hood-style thief (played by the actual inventor/founder of the discipline of parkour) and an equally agile and unconventional cop team up to find a bomb in a walled off neighbourhood controlled by criminals
yamakasi is kind of in the same vein, in that it has a lot of parkour and is also interpreted by traceurs and, even more so than banlieue 13, all about the jumps, rather than having a solid plot.

les visiteurs - it's the original version of "just visiting", which was played by the same actors (jean reno above all).. a funny comedy about two time travelers.

trois hommes et un couffin - 3 single men who are roomies find a baby on their doorstep and must try and rearrange their lives around this smelly problem. the original, not the remake with tom selleck

delicatessen - noir comedy set in post apocalyptic and food deprived france.

La Haine - 3 teens struggling in the slums...rather drammatic

Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis - a comedy that has been remade in italian and I think also in english (or is being remade, not sure)..a postman is uprooted from his "civilized france" and sent to head an office in a part of France (near dunkirk) where he is completely lost and has always looked down upon

une pure formalité (una pura formalità) actually an italian movie, but the main cast is french or french speaking (polanski and depardieu)
a quality thriller with two great performances, and it's all in the words, so..I guess it's really good for practicing french

la femme nikita - the original, again..not the american remake.

la reine margot - historic drama about the massacre of protestants that took place in 16th century france, Adjani in great shape

la boum - a young sophie marceau (future bond girl) going through the troubles of any teenager..school, arguing parents, first loves and so on.

mon père, ce héros - again, the original..what is it with hollywood remaking movies without even bothering to changing the main cast?.. depardieu trying to make his teenage daughter happy by playing along in her schemes..which would have him pose as her sugar daddy.

Gaius Marius
2011-12-12, 07:31 PM
What imperfection is that?

A strange thumb (http://www.celebitchy.com/90765/megan_foxs_freakish_thumbs_replaced_with_hand_doub le_in_super_bowl_ad/)

Vacant
2011-12-12, 09:48 PM
La Moustache (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0428856/) is also phenomenal.

H Birchgrove
2011-12-13, 10:15 AM
Tintin and the Golden Fleece (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tintin_and_the_Golden_Fleece) (Live action.)

Tintin and the Blue Oranges (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tintin_and_the_Blue_Oranges) (Live action.)

Tintin and the Temple of the Sun (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tintin_and_the_Temple_of_the_Sun) (Animated.)

Tintin and the Lake of Sharks (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tintin_and_the_Lake_of_Sharks) (Animated.)

Judex (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judex_%28film%29) & Judex's New Mission (La Nouvelle Mission de Judex). Silent film serials about a crime-fighting masked hero very similar to the pulp hero The Shadow, predating him.

The various Fantômas films (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fant%C3%B4mas), about a cunning and ruthless supervillain and the heroes who hunt him. I've seen the rather James Bond-influenced films from the 1960's; they're hilarious. Inspired the Pink Panther films.

My mother loves The gendarme series, starting with Le_Gendarme_de_Saint-Tropez (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le_Gendarme_de_Saint-Tropez) starring Louis de Funès (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_de_Fun%C3%A8s) who also starred as one of the heroes in the 60's Fantômas films.

thompur
2011-12-13, 10:20 AM
The only one I've ever seen in the theatre was Ridicule (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0117477/). I thought it was good.

thorgrim29
2011-12-13, 10:21 AM
Most anything with Jean Reno actually, that guy is a freaking genius. Les visiteurs (1 and 2, 3 is crap), Wasabi, L'immortel (also known as 22 bullets).

For films from Quebec, I'll second Bon Cop Bad Cop and Crazy, also De père en Flic and Les Boys. If you can find the French Canadian dub of Slapshot it's so bad it's absolutely hillarious.

Newman
2011-12-13, 05:26 PM
Ridicule is an utterly smashing movie.

But I'd totally recommend Yamakasi (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZfRSo4Kvb4&feature=fvwrel) (There's this group of Parkour practicioners, our heroes, praciticing their sport on the margins of the law. Then this kid who idolizes them tries to mimic them, but he has a heart condition and he almost dies. His heart must be replaced within 24 hours. There are no compatible hearts in France. But a private company, owned by some very influential people, including the Minister of Health's advisor, can fly one in... illegally, and for a massive fee. The family simply doesn't have that much money. The heroes decide to rob the houses of that company's board of directors for the missing money. Hilarity and awesomeness ensue.

Banlieue 13 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suiYQLcrUoI) (which had no sequels... honest): Mirror's Edge meets Metal Gear Solid meets Hobo With A Shotgun. Saying this is a huge spoiler, but you'll only realize once you're well into the movie.

H Birchgrove
2011-12-13, 08:37 PM
The Lucky Luke films, both animated and live action.

Avoid Les Daltons/The Daltons, I've heard it's bad.

Tirian
2011-12-13, 09:02 PM
Jean de Florette (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_de_Florette) and Manon des Sources (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manon_des_Sources_(1986_film))


These are two of the most beautiful and moving films ever made in any language.

Kneenibble
2011-12-13, 09:09 PM
Wow, thanks again and again. I'll have movies to watch until next Christmas.

Here's a conundrum: my French teacher mentioned a movie, whose name she could not remember -- a Québec film -- about two people who start chatting in a gas station in Québec somewhere. Both of them are Francophones but they speak in bad English to each other not thinking each other to know French. I may have mangled the story a bit there, but anyways it sounds like a really cute comedy. Does it ring a bell?

Bhu
2011-12-14, 01:57 AM
I cant believe no ones mentioned Micmacs

Apparently the Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus is french according to wiki

13 Tzameti, Sheitan, Martyrs, Inside if you like gory, messed up horror films

Rubber is just darn weird. Im not sure if i could recommend it or not

Dante 01 is an odd lil scifi movie

Fear(s) of the Dark is an animated horror anthology

grimbold
2011-12-14, 02:53 AM
Intouchables (http://www.allocine.fr/film/fichefilm_gen_cfilm=182745.html) is apparently excellent

I also really liked Tintin in french

H Birchgrove
2011-12-14, 07:28 AM
On www.archive.org, you can find Le Voyage Dans La Lune (http://www.archive.org/details/LeVoyageDansLaLune_218), a silent sci-fi film from 1902 loosely based on Jules Verne's and H.G. Wells' Moon novels. Probably English text here though.

dehro
2011-12-14, 05:51 PM
On www.archive.org, you can find Le Voyage Dans La Lune (http://www.archive.org/details/LeVoyageDansLaLune_218), a silent sci-fi film from 1902 loosely based on Jules Verne's and H.G. Wells' Moon novels. Probably English text here though.

that's gonna help him practice his french :smallbiggrin:

H Birchgrove
2011-12-14, 07:12 PM
that's gonna help him practice his french :smallbiggrin:

Well, hopefully he might be able to find a DVD edition with French text somewhere. :smallwink:

Dr. Simon
2011-12-15, 05:07 AM
Not a film, a TV series.

"Engrenages" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiral_%28TV_series%29), marketed in English as "Spiral", is worth a look; think The Wire but in Paris. Useful for learning some, erm, colourful French vernacular.:smallwink:

H Birchgrove
2011-12-15, 07:31 AM
Then I can recommend the TV-series adaptation of The Count of Monte Cristo (Le Comte de Monte Cristo) with Gerard Depardieu from 1998. So awesome I had to see it twice.

Talieth
2011-12-15, 08:56 AM
Last (maybe) but certainly not least :

Les Tonton Flingueurs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_Tontons_flingueurs) : Watch it in blanc and white if possible ...

Also :

the last century movies by Luc Besson : Subway, Leon (Nikita has already been proposed)

I have been told good things about "Un long dimanche de fiançailles"

If you like comedy, there are some classic movies : "La grande vadrouille", "la 7eme compagnie" and a lot of movie with Louis De Funes
Less recent, but still classic : "La cité de la peur"
For more recent comedy movie, "Le fabuleux destin d'Amelie Poulain" is damn good imho
You could also watch "C'est arrivé pres de chez vous", a Belgian movie presented as a documentary on a Belgian hitman ... I love it, but this is a "different" kind of comedy ;-)

And there a lot of others, but not that good (just my 2 cents there ...)

Gwyn chan 'r Gwyll
2011-12-15, 09:04 AM
Les Miserables, avec Gerard Depardieu et Jean Malkovich.
Great TV Miniseries.

L'Illusioniste, the 2010 animated one, not the 2006 live action.

truemane
2011-12-15, 09:25 AM
Kneenibble and obscure film! Two of my very favourite things in the same thread. Be still my little heart.

If you're looking for something a little further off the beaten path, I'd look for anything you can find by Jean-Pierre Melville. He made films just before the New Wave really took off, and was doing everything Goddard was doing ten years earlier. The only reason he isn't more famous, or his influence more touted, is that he LOVED American gangster films the way Tarantino loves Wuxia and so he spent most of his career making genre flicks and has been seemingly dismissed by history as a result.

But here's the thing, Kneebs (can I call you Keebs?), he takes the razor-sharp cool of the American gangster genre and, in an explosion of narrative fury, smashes it up against laid back Gallic cool. So what you get is a gangster film slowed down and spaced out and cooled right the hell down so everything happens under the surface and no one says what they mean or means what they say and you just have to hang on and see what happens.

No one ever made movies quite like Melville made movies.

Le samourai. Probably his magnum opus, certainly his most 'famous' and was John Woo's favourite film. He made The Killer in direct homage. If you only see one of his films, see this one.

Le cercle rouge. My personal favourite and probably the most fully realized execution of his obsession with the Brotherhood of Men. Complex and engaging. And Alain Delon. Delon cited Melville as the greatest filmmaker he ever worked with. And he was HAWT. No joke. So there you go.

L'Armee des ombres. A film drawing on Mevlille's experiences in the French Resistance during WWII. More about scared, hungry, desperate men than thrilling raids and commando attacks, when it was screened for the senior members of the French Intelligence service, most of them walked out. Except for the couple that actually served in the Resistance. But they stayed all the way to the end and applauded.

Bob le flambeur. His first success. He filmed it with a washed out alcoholic leading man, on no money. He'd film enough in a day to put together a clip, show the clip to the people with the money in the hopes of earning enough to film one more day. Containing the first ever casino heist ever put on film. Was remade as 'The Good Thief' with Nick Nolte. This film is basically created the template for the kind of street-level, guerrilla filmmaking that would come to be known as the New Wave.

Aaaaand a few non-Melville French greats.

Forbidden Games. By Renee Clement. About two children in rural France during WWII and the ways they try to process to horrors of war. Both fable and farce, powerful and engaging. Funny and sad. Beautiful, beautiful work.

Purple Noon. Also by Rene clement. Starring your friend and mine Alain Delon (HAWT, I tell you) in the first (?) film version of The Talented Mr. Ripley. Quality operation, all the way around.

Rififi. By the exiled, blacklisted American director Jules Dassin (whose English works are also superior examples of post-war film noir and, in a few cases - Thieve's Highway, Night and the City - are among the best examples). Contains what is the first fully realized "heist" sequence ever put on film (made the same year, at the same time, as Bob le Flambeur, actually, Melville was pissed he was passed over to direct this film).

If your video store has a decent stock of Criterion films, then most of these should be available there.

dehro
2011-12-15, 10:28 AM
movies with the character called monsieur Hulot (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monsieur_Hulot)

truemane
2011-12-15, 02:14 PM
movies with the character called monsieur Hulot (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monsieur_Hulot)

Seconded. Heartily. Although, to be fair, they're all silent films for all intents and purposes and won't help Kneebs much on his path to polyglottery.

What? Perfectly cromulant word!

H Birchgrove
2011-12-15, 05:51 PM
Les Chevaliers du ciel (Sky Fighters) from 2005 based on the comic series Les Aventures de Tanguy et Laverdure about a team of French fighter (Dassault Mirage) pilots and their adventures. Comic had (mostly realistic) art by Albert Uderzo, who also did Asterix.

There were also two previous TV-series, Les Chevaliers du Ciel, initially broadcast 1967-69, and 1988–91.

Sugarmouse
2011-12-15, 07:13 PM
If you can get your hands on it, anything with Louis de Funès. :smallsmile:

Gaius Marius
2011-12-15, 09:09 PM
Louis IXX is the original version of EdTv (much, much, much, much better version. Actually a touching movie at times)

comicshorse
2011-12-16, 03:08 PM
'Mesrine: Part 1 Killer Instinct' and 'Mesrine: Part 2 Public Enemy Number 1' twin fantastic thrillers based on the life of french criminal Jacques Mesrine. Fantastically played by Vincent Cassel it follows his life from french army to gangster, most wanted man in France and Canada, murderer, kidnapper, armed robber and serial escapee from high security prisons.

dehro
2011-12-16, 04:42 PM
Seconded. Heartily. Although, to be fair, they're all silent films for all intents and purposes and won't help Kneebs much on his path to polyglottery.

What? Perfectly cromulant word!

true. which is funny because I pointed the same out to someone else who mentioned another silent film...they're still worth watching though.



Les Chevaliers du ciel (Sky Fighters) from 2005 based on the comic series Les Aventures de Tanguy et Laverdure about a team of French fighter (Dassault Mirage) pilots and their adventures. Comic had (mostly realistic) art by Albert Uderzo, who also did Asterix.

There were also two previous TV-series, Les Chevaliers du Ciel, initially broadcast 1967-69, and 1988–91.
saw this last week as it happened to be on the telly in italy.
as much as I enjoyed the comics, the movie left me less than impressed. cool air fights though.

Trixie
2011-12-16, 07:32 PM
Wakfu. All of it :smallcool:

The Succubus
2011-12-19, 07:43 AM
Surprised this hasn't been mentioned yet but if you want a light-hearted action comedy, Taxi is pretty good, as is the sequel. Please note this is the Luc Besson version, not the crappy remake.

Of course, if you're looking for "French" films, monsiuer Nibble, I can't help you there. :smalltongue:

thorgrim29
2011-12-19, 07:55 AM
Yeah, Taxi is good, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone trying to learn French, Marseille's accent is pretty hard to follow even for native french speakers outside of France. For the same reason (well, different accents), bienvenu chez les chtis and les visiteurs are pretty "advanced" films.

Kneenibble
2011-12-19, 11:42 AM
Seconded. Heartily. Although, to be fair, they're all silent films for all intents and purposes and won't help Kneebs much on his path to polyglottery.

What? Perfectly cromulant word!

Thank you for your recommendations, nimdyddle. I shall seek Jean-Pierre Melville as a knight homoerotically seeks the grail.

So... It's been a while... I hear you have kids now?
*runs out of the thread crying*


Of course, if you're looking for "French" films, monsiuer Nibble, I can't help you there. :smalltongue:

You can only learn so much about that from watching. :smallamused:

truemane
2011-12-19, 03:13 PM
Thank you for your recommendations, nimdyddle. I shall seek Jean-Pierre Melville as a knight homoerotically seeks the grail.

So... It's been a while... I hear you have kids now?
*runs out of the thread crying*

Oh, darling Kneebs of mine, I've had kids for some time. I have a grandchild now. That's pretty new. No crying though. Brings out my nurturing side.