It is a popular opinion when it is asserted that there is more to French cinema than the entertainment it provides. The “attitude of the cinema” is what contributes to the true “Frenchness” of these movies. The French have taken cinema very seriously from its very advent of it. It has been a mode of solace, a way of living, and even a manifestation of love if you are to listen to the common folk or the filmmakers.
Filmmaking is an art, the unfolding of the story is an art, and every component that makes up the experience is a form of art that the French cinema has captured masterfully. Entertainment becomes a secondary outcome; it is to create art that is the primary objective.
This is the reason that French cinema has been able to produce some timeless classics and masterpieces, work that stays with us over time. As a tertiary outcome, France has a bustling movie industry that garners huge subsidies (as much as €700 million by the year 2012!).
French movies are an adventure no person needs to miss. They are full of unique ways in which each genre is represented. From French Cinema, we have gotten some of the best Queer representation, some of the best thrillers, and definitely some of the best romances that will remain timeless pieces.
If you are a movie enthusiast looking for cross-cultural exposure in your watching experience or wish to check out more of French cinema, here is a multi-genre list of the 56 Best French Movies to Watch.
1. Goodbye to Language (2014)
Goodbye to language from 2014 is the latest in the mystery genre by French director Godard. That being said, the movie continuously keeps you engaged with a grasping plot and brilliant writing.
Not just that, the movie also dons a stunning use of imagery in its favor to make up for an excellent movie experience. It can very well be called the signature example of how French cinema works.
The film is a story of a couple with a relationship slowly drifting apart from their hold. But what holds the attention of the audience is Godard’s cute dog named Roxie, who runs away from the insanity of civilization to the countryside.
Godard has shown only progression in his work over time, and he keeps doing so with each work he skilfully presents. The film received great recognition at the Cannes film festival, with devout Godard fans making sure to shout “Godard forever” as the lights went down!
2. Amelie (2001)
Amelie is one of the few foreign language films that have found a suitable audience even outside of the country it was released in and has become an absolute sensation since its release in 2001. The Jean Pierre Jeunet movie even inspired a short-term Broadway musical!
This innovative and dazzling rom-com about Amelie (Audrey Tautou), the pixie-like Montmarte waitress, moves about something even more than that. It is also the profound portrait of a woman who wishes to join people but does not know where to start.
When she eventually is able to, she gets involved in everybody’s life but lives her life from a considerable distance. Her journey, her bravery, and her overall portrayal are something entirely commendable.
3. Eden (2014)
Eden is easily a movie where Mia Hansen Love quite clearly reveals who she truly is. The 2014 movie is explicitly based on the life of Hansen Love’s older brother called, Sven, a former DJ who has co-written this history of the French Touch music scene.
The movie runs from the 90s to the early times, showing 20 years of the life of a DJ named Paul, whose life grows stagnant with time. He soon realizes that the road of his life is going nowhere at all. This movie is a melancholy-heavy ride across generations while also being an intricate character study.
4. The Intouchables (2011)
The Intouchables from 2011 is one of the highest-grossing French-language movies of all time. Francois Cluzet appears as a quadriplegic millionaire Philippe, while Omar Sy appears as his frank and unconventional caretaker Driss.
The movie is a heartwarming work about two individuals and their wholesome friendship. Philippe and Driss enrich each other’s lives by being just present. Philippe shows Driss a life of privilege and comfort, while Driss constantly pushes Philippe to have more fun.
The movie is also a comedic one, utilizing great cross-cultural elements to bring an essence of humor. How the bond between Philippe and Driss transcends cultural and racial barriers is a beautiful thing to see.
5. Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)
Portrait of a Lady on Fire is a beautiful period movie from the late 18th century exploring the depths of a formulating relationship between two women and how the social barrier eventually parted them. This tragic yet memorable piece sees Adele Haenel as Heloise, a woman soon to be married but reluctant to do so.
She soon happens to find friendship and eventual romance with an artist named Marianne (Noemie Merlant). Marianne has been given the task of painting Heloise’s marriage portrait. The 2019 movie sees how the romance between these women unfolds on a distant island in Brittany.
With the date of Heloise’s marriage looming over their intimate relationship, their love soon sees an end. The writer and director of the movie, Celine Sciamma, became the first female director to win Best Screenplay at the Cannes Film Festival while also taking home the Queer Palm.
6. Titane (2021)
Julia Ducournau’s triumphant, Palme d’Or-winning movie from 2021 is one of the most exciting and emotional experiences in modern-day cinema.
The film is about Agatha Rousselle, who is a model at a motor show. Her job is to dance seductively against hubcaps and fenders for the aroused audience. She then has sex with a vintage Cadillac and happens to get pregnant with a chrome and petrol baby!
This strange turn is but only the start of the plot that lies ahead. The movie packs some heart-warming and promising performances, too, like the one by Vincent London, who adopts Rousselle because he thinks they are his long-lost son. The movie is just something else.
7. House of Tolerance (2011)
French cinema has continuously adapted the lives of prostitutes, yet nothing is as intriguing as Bertrand Bonello’s “House of Tolerance” from 2011. This mesmerizing tale is set in the fragrant parlors and bedrooms of a brothel in the Paris 20th century.
The premise of the picture is completely fiction, but the portrayal is so enriching that it feels like a step into the past. Kudos to the accuracy in that. The film also serves as a compelling feminist piece of entertainment with shared narratives of different working girls and their individual experiences with pleasure as well as peril.
Both a perverse work and a masterpiece, the movie acts as a take on the women in those times when they were denied all power, only ever being entitled to their sexual power. Overall, a bold, provocative and empowering experience.
8. Funan (2018)
Funan is an impressive animation drama from 2018 that finds itself set in 1975 Cambodia. A family attempts to escape but is then held by the Khmer Rouge. Even when they are separated from one another, they always search for each other. The director Denis Do presents a tear-jerking piece based on the memories of his own mother, who is Cambodian.
9. Summer Hours (2008)
Olivier Assayas’ filmography has reached across several genres and is served with the bravest audacity. Summer Hours is the kind of movie that shows presented at the moment while we grow familiar with the psychological states afflicting the characters.
Frederic (Charles Berling), Adrienne (Juliette Binoche), and Jeremie (Jeremie Renier) are grown siblings who come together to their late father’s home in the countryside. They meet to determine what shall be done to the lifetime of possessions left at the house.
While they go through the stuff, they also go down memory lane. The movie successfully captures how memories accumulate with different people. The film, overall, may be simple but provides an enriched emotional experience like no other.
10. L’Humanite (1999)
L’Humanite is a tragedy set in a silenced French village where a girl has been brutally sexually assaulted and killed. A police detective is soon assigned to look into the matter, and the investigation leaves the community of the village upside down.
A detective is a humble man working under the pressure of the wrongdoings of others while also trying to come to terms with his own guilt and despair that he has been carrying.
11. My Golden Days (2015)
My Golden Days are both a sequel and a prequel to the acclaimed 1995 movie “My Sex Life… Or How I Got Into an Argument” by Arnaud Desplechin. Mathieu Amalric appears once again in this bittersweet drama as Paul Dedalus, who is an indecisive academic.
Paul Dedalus recounts his youth and how fragile his past relationships were while also being intensive in one way or the other. Desplechin makes movies like they are straight out of the books, so he cannot be blamed when this movie seems a little disconnected at first but then comes together for something meaningful. The ending is a bittersweet and melancholy-centric one.
12.Wild Reeds (1994)
Wild Reed from 1994 follows a shy school student Francois in the south of France. He soon discovers that he is homosexual once he begins an erotic relationship with a farm boy named Serge. The story is set in the backdrop of the French-Algerian war when Francois finds himself in a love triangle revolving around him, his best friend Maetie, and Serge.
This movie is yet another of the intimate and raw French movies that closely inspect queer relationships. Honestly, no better place to look for such representation other than in French cinema.
13. Faces Places (2017)
Faces Places is a funny and great movie from 2017, which has the themes of finality and impermanence at its epicenter. The moving Agnes Varda movie sees the legendary 88-years- old auteur teaming up with an almost-anonymous street photographer called JR for a curious tour of the French countryside.
Their plan revolves around driving from one rustic village to another while JR invites the locals to pose in the back of their van, which he has transformed into a mini photo booth. They then print out life-sized portraits and paste them into the local places. Agnes and JR’s profound journey to affirm the existence of several unknown people through photography is simply impressive to watch.
14. Anelka: Misunderstood (2020)
Anelka: Misunderstood from 2020 is a biographical work on the French footballer Nicolas Anelka on how he weighed his own rise and fall in his career.
It is one of Netflix’s original creations in the French language. If you want to watch the life and career of a highly competitive and capable player, look no further than this great movie. Look further into his controversial yet interesting football career.
15. Je ne suis pas un home facile (I am Not an Easy Man) (2018)
I am Not an Easy Man revolves around a chauvinistic man who is thrown into a matriarchal world where women run the country and men get catcalled on the streets (tragic). He was hit in the head and found himself in this world where all these roles are reversed. This 2018 rom-com is a fresh and innovative work of fiction.
16. Li’L Quinquin (2014)
Li’L Quinquin was originally a miniseries but then put together into a feature-length and screened that way at Cannes and in the US. The 2014 movie by Bruno Dumont is another one of his audacious creations.
It is the humorous tale of police investigators in a small town with various other rural characters that they come across along the way. The mystery that lies at the center of the plot seems less relevant when the police captain (Bernard Pruvost) is constantly baffled by the clues that he comes across. It all starts with the killing of a woman stuffed inside a cow, and it only gets weirder from this moment on.
17. Van Gogh (1991)
From Maurice Pialat comes the movie Van Gogh in 1991. It follows Vincent Van Gogh after his release from the asylum. He then settles in the house of Doctor Gachet, where he continues to train despite his deteriorating mental health. He soon begins an affair with the doctor’s daughter. She soon realizes that he does not really love her and that all that really concerns him is art.
18. Amour (2012)
From Michael Haneke comes one of the most wonderful as well as brilliant romances of all time. Amour from 2012 is a love story of an elderly married couple, and they have a beautiful marriage.
The French couple (Jean Lois Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva) face a tough spot in their relationship when one of them suffers from an enfeebling stroke. The movie shows the humanistic essence of a life full of love and death that must be accepted with honor. Amour remains one of the most striking romances of this era.
19. La Sapienza (2014)
La Sapienza or The Sapience from 2014 packs what can only be called a generic indie drama plot, but with the influence of French-American Eugene Green, it made it to this list of one of the best French movies in its own right. It revolves around a couple who has grown estranged and travel to the countryside in an attempt to save their relationship and uplift their spirits.
In the process, they also get involved with a bunch of teenagers and work through their problems. Green shapes La Sapienza into a poignant piece with a certain beauty to it. To weave an essence of intellectual emotion In this deadpan comedy is the filmmaker’s unique touch. An enriching experience overall.
20. Esther Kahn (2000)
Esther Kahn is the daring story of the young titular protagonist living in a Jewish neighborhood with her family in the late 19th century London’s East End.
The drama shows she yearns to run away from her family’s garment manufacturing and sweatshop business and make a name for herself as an independent stage actress. While she lacks expression and is reserved, she slowly makes an effort and excels in the world of English theatre.
21. Tell No One (2006)
The work from mystery-thriller writer Harlan Coben from the US is more adapted into French cinema than it is in the US. Guillaume Canet was the first French director to adapt Coben’s work to the big screen with the name “Tell No One” in 2006.
The movie is the story of a widowed doctor named Alexandre Beck (Francois Cluzet). He begins to get mysterious texts from his wife, who is long dead.
The police are then compelled to start re-investigating her murder while considering Alexandre as a prime suspect. Canet does a fantastic job in giving screen to Coben’s page-turning work about a man who has tragedy following him wherever he goes.
22. The Wind of The Night (1999)
The 1999 movie revolves around a headstrong young man (Xavier Beauvois) who soon finds himself involved with two different mysterious people from the previous generation. After having an affair with the married woman Helene (Catherine Deneuve), he tries to escape from her obsessive control by going on a road trip with Serrge (Daniel Duval), a man of the 60s.
23. I Lost My Body (2019)
I Lost My Body is a 2019 debut that is both gruesome and profound by the debuting filmmaker Jeremy Claplin. It is also considered one of the best debut animations in recent times. This fierce fairy tale begins with a young man in the 90s Paris who has been violently separated from one of his hands.
In the bigger picture, it is a story about a person trying to make themselves whole once again. The movie is quite unpredictable in what it holds for you and is also a Cannes-winning work. The story unfolds from the point of view of a hand that strolls around Paris in search of its body.
This is a movie that rewards patience and attention to just what is shown and how it’s shown, a daring take on how this world forces us to leave behind parts of ourselves in order to term us “beautiful.”
24. Les affames (Ravenous) (2017)
Les Affames is a film concerned with a zombie apocalypse yet can only be described in two words- nuanced and laidback. The indie 2017 film is set in a small town in Quebec. The movie packs layers of humor and philosophy which make it quite entertaining. It premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.
25. Le Monde est a toi (The World is Yours) (2018)
This crime thriller and comedy from 2015 follows a small-time drug dealer as he tries to get out of the business and decides to move to Morocco. He soon takes up one last job as a dealer and soon finds himself in trouble with a secret society! That society is the Illuminati, an organization that is said to be at the center of several fictional conspiracy theories.
26. The Man on the Train (2002)
The Man on The Train from 2002 is another of filmmaker Patrice Leconte’s expertly curated work. The underrated yet wonderful Leconte brings forth this smartly told story of a chance encounter between a retired teacher (Jean Rochefort) and an aged bank robber (Johnny Hallyday) who is about to score big.
While these two men do not share any emotional bond, the impact of their relationship is just powerful as a love story when they formulate a fraternal bond between themselves. It can be sweet at times and definitely is a memorable one.
27. Things to Come (2016)
Things to Come is a fine drama based on a late-in-life crisis. The Mia Hansen Love movie from 2016 is by far Isabelle Huppert’s most intricate performance. Huppert appears as Nathalie, a philosophy professor. Nathalie is currently trying to get ahead with her life while also trying to recover from the passing of her ailing mother and her separation from her husband after a fragile marriage.
Huppert has been awarded the New York Film Critics Circle Prize for her brilliant fitting into a role both emotional and vulnerable. Each scene is delivered with power and greatness, making the character of Nathalie more real by each scene.
28. La Chant du loup (The Wolf’s Call) (2019)
If you wish to watch a war movie that is as thrilling as an action one, “The Wolf’s Call” from 2019 is the film for you. It is one of the best French releases of recent times. This film follows a submarine’s Sonar Officer who is up against the clock. He tries to get the French ballistic missile submarine in an attempt to end the threat of an approaching nuclear war.
29. 35 Shots of Rum (2008)
35 Shots of Rum is a stunningly detailed comment on the violence embodied in men, the idea of colonialism, and the violence of our memories. Claire Denis breathes life into this concept with utmost clarity.
While the movie is also equally concerned with dead bodies as it is with alive ones, it is still dubbed one of the tenderest movies ever made. It is about a widower (Alex Descas), his daughter who is growing independent (Mati Diop), and the make-do family they find in the strange people who live in their apartment building.
It is a clear portrait of how little joys and disappointments collectively shape our lives with time and how they make or break us even.
30. La Vie En Rose (2007)
Marion Cotillard’s portrayal of Edith Piaf is perhaps one of the greatest young performances to date, something that even made Cotillard the first performer to get the Oscar for Best Actress for a French Language movie.
This visually enriched film has Cotillard capturing all of the essences that Piaf possessed; the husky voice, being a little hunched, and having a frail way of being.
Piaf is shown as a person who knows it all and, even then, is too delicate for this world. Even so, La Vie En Rose from 2007 is not just an actor’s award-winning performance but also a zestful and spirited work of art in French cinema. We also see boxing scenes full of thrill when the plot comes over to Piaf’s great love interest, the boxer Marcel Cerdan who died in a plane crash in 1949.
31. La femme la plus assassinee du monde (The Most Assassinated Woman in the World (2018)
This long titular movie from 2018 is set in the 1930s at the Grand Guignol Theatre in Paris. It is a loosely based story of the real-life actress Paula Maxa. She has been killed in staged thousands of times as part of her roles in the grim theatre company. Soon enough, she begins to be stalked by a real-life assassin.
32. Cache (2005)
Michael Haneke is known for his dark and strange storytelling, and this reached its prime when he made “Cache” in 2005. It tells the story of a rich, privileged couple that is being haunted by the past. They are the TV host George (Daniel Auteuil) and his wife Anne (Juliet Binoche).
They try to figure out where the mysterious video tapes that are being mailed to their house are coming from. The movie is a perfect blend of classic French drama and Hitchcockian thrill. The movie is left open-ended, but the hints of mystery are shown to stretch back to George’s childhood when he played a traumatic role in the life of an Algerian man whose parents passed away in the Paris Massacre of 1961.
The man, who is now an adult, comes in front of George in one of the most baffling scenes in Haneke’s filmography. The horror of a haunting past is captured wonderfully, thanks to the filmmaker. The ending leaves you in shock and thinking of conclusions on your own.
33. Being 17 (2016)
Being 17 from 2016 is a slow-paced drama by Andre Techine that is focused on the absolute violence attributed to becoming a man in this world. The coming-of-age film is a raw take on how hard it can be to come to terms with who you truly are. In this case, it is a boy who is in love with his bully.
The story is about two boys who grow up in the beautiful mountains of the French Pyrenees. Damien (Kacey Mottet Klein) is a white and careless boy. Thomas (Corentin Fila) is a bi-racial, rather reserved, and impulsively violent boy.
The two formerly do not seem too fond of each other; Thomas even trips Damien in the middle of the Class for no apparent reason. The story lets you witness their slow development and come to terms with their feelings and doubts regarding each other.
34. Atlantics (2019)
This movie dons a combination of both French and Wolof. It is set in the suburb of Dakar, revolving around a young couple in the backdrop of construction for a high-rise tower. The 2019 drama beautifully weaves together the themes of romance, migration, and revenge. It is also the first film made by a Black woman to be featured in the Cannes Film Festival while also garnering a universal claim.
35. Goodbye First Love (2011)
Another of Mia Hansen Love’s interesting features has made it to this list, and it is “Goodbye First Love” from 2011. It can very well be called a coming-of-age story, but it is so unique in its own right that it just does not seem to lump in well with a generalization.
The premise of the film seems intrinsically mature, even when the young heroine (Lola Creton) still has a long way to go. Hansen Love has made sure not to stick to any clichéd tropes and paved her own way in narrating the story of the protagonist in her adventure.
The portrayal is direct and straightforward, which makes the viewer feel it directly too. Goodbye First Love is a breathtaking view into the great passion and how it shapes us as people.
36. Belle De Jour (1967)
Belle De Jour from 1967 is the story of the housewife Severine. She is beautiful and young, but she has certain kinky, sadistic, and masochistic imaginations that she cannot contain while she also has to have a normal everyday life with her dutiful husband, Pierre. She then starts to do an afternoon job at a local but high-class brothel. She works with the name “Belle De Jour” while her husband is out working.
37. The Class (2008)
The Class from 2008 is the first French Palme d’Or winner in the last 20 years. The reason for that is its unapologetic and unbiased look into the modern-day educational system. It is a wonderful Laurent Cantet creation you must not miss.
The movie showcases a passionate teacher Francois (Francois Marin), who educates working-class teenagers while also trying to befriend them during the process. Cantet presents a real image of how classroom dynamics work while also inputting suspenseful and comedic themes in between.
Francois consistently tries to establish a sense of decorum in the Class while his students often veer off track. The film broadly criticizes the institutions that ostracize children who are angry and troubled and those who have no way to improve by themselves due to unfortunate upbringing.
38. Clean Slate (1981)
Clean Slate from 1981 follows Lucien Cordier, an idle police officer in a small town in the French colonized Senegal. Local criminals often make fun of their inability to put an end to crime, let alone stop them from going about their illegal activities. He is also often nagged by his cheating wife. When he thinks he has had enough, he decides to take the matter into his own hands.
39. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007)
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly from 2007 are not only one of Julian Schnabel’s finest works but also a stunning adaptation of Jean Dominique Bauby’s autobiography. The movie completely equips the beauty of the memoir.
The movie is a deathbed memoir where Bauby recounts his former years as the editor of a fashion magazine and later his life when he felt trapped in his own body when he survived a stroke at the age of 45. The movie is shot from the “locked-in” point of view, and Mathieu Amalric does wonderfully in the lead role.
It is a highly humbling movie about the impermanence of the human form and can trigger great appreciation in you for what you have got.
40. Stranger by the Lake (2013)
Stranger by the Lake from 2013 gives off a rich 80s or 90s vibe while also being a great piece of queer cinema. The movie is a brave and bold collision of criminality and gay sexual relations.
Franck (Pierre Deladonchamps) is a lonely person trying to look for a lover, but he looks in all the wrong places. This wrong place is a lakeside cruising spot for gay men of all shapes and sizes. His yearning and sexually deficit gaze meet Michele (Christophe Paou), who is a handsome person but tastes like danger.
When Franck sees Michele drown his trade in the Lake, he ignores all the red flags and grows even more lustful. The filmmaker Guiraudie takes an unconventional turn by shooting bold, hardcore scenes revolving around sexual intercourse. A rare film indeed.
41. Les Biches (1968)
Les Biches is a 1968 movie about a bisexual millionaire Frederique who picked up a young street artist called Why out of sheer boredom. He then seduces her. He takes her away to his villa in St. Tropez for the winter. The two of them soon come across a dashing architect named Paul. Both of them happen to fall for Paul. What comes next is a ménage a Trois full of deceit and flirtation.
42. A Prophet (2009)
Jacques Audiard peaks in his filmmaking with “A Prophet” from 2009. This prison drama features Tahar Rahim as Malik, a French-Algerian person who gets incarcerated as a teenager. He then falls into the command of the Corsican mob.
He then has to confront a dicey feeling where he cannot decide whether to maintain allegiance with his new enforcers or to be faithful to his Muslim roots. Malik, in one very graphic scene, even murders an inmate at the mob’s orders. With time, fortunately, he learns to embrace his Muslim roots and finds newer faith. It is a violent yet hopeful drama about coming to terms with how things are and discovering hope.
43. A Christmas Tale (2008)
A Christmas Tale from 2008 is Arnaud Desplechin’s signature style drama that effortlessly goes between several mini stories through a messy family dynamic, all while maintaining focus.
Catherine Denuve appears as a matriarch in a house full of children, grandchildren, and in-laws. Ultimately, the focus of this family is less on an illness that can potentially threaten their future but more on the wide network of the family that can cause a drifting apart amongst them. There is a lot going on at once in this movie, but the viewer still has clarity over what is happening.
44. Bon Cop, Bad Cap (2006)
Bon Cop, Bad Cop is a 2006 Quebecois action comedy that focuses on two police officers, one that speaks English and one that speaks French. The two of them are forced to work together so they can get their hands on a serial killer. The movie also got a sequel due to the popularity it attained.
45. Of Gods and Men (2010)
Of Gods and Men from 2010 enshrines the story of the sacred lives of eight monks. They live a seemingly old-fashioned life in a North African mountain community. The movie follows them as they go about their daily lives, reciting prayers and ritualistic hymns that echo monotonously through their chambers.
During all this, they also provide medical help and spiritual counsel wherever necessary to their Muslim neighbors. They lead a peaceful and tranquil life. However, this untroubled life is short-lived, and they are soon disrupted by violent and bloodthirsty Islamic fundamentalists.
The film can be said to be loosely based on the 1996 incident of the assassination of seven French monks in Algeria. The movie is an intimate take on personal emotion and conviction in the face of approaching death. A raw adaptation of tragedy.
46. Holy Motors (2012)
Leos Carax did not appear on the cinematic front for 12 years when in 2012, he came forward with the wonderful, tragic, and stimulating “Holy Motors.” It is the most successful peculiar movie that starred David Lynch.
Denis Lavant (Lynch) is a person who is involved in a gloomy profession that has him going from a beggar in the morning to a monstrous subterranean troll who is nicknamed “Shit” that later kidnaps Eva Mendes.
Lavant is often accompanied by a supportive but mysterious woman called Celine (Edith Scob). Holy Motors is a moving collage of contrasting sequences that are seamlessly weaved together to form the richest cinematic experience.
47. Muriel, or the Time of the Return (1963)
This movie is often termed an enigmatic masterpiece that captures history and memory so well. The 1963 movie revolves around a middle-aged widow who lives with her stepson. She then reunites with an old lover, due to which both of the two adults get haunted by their pasts. Meanwhile, her stepson is lost in the thoughts of a woman named Muriel, who he met when he was deployed as a soldier in the Algerian war.
48. Girlhood (2014)
Girlhood is one of the most representative and best coming-of-age French films. The 2014 drama shows the rough Paris outskirts where a teenage girl gang happens to become surrogate sisters for one another.
Marieme (Karidjia Toure) is a 16-year-old African-French person who happens to become friends with a group of girls who are into partying that involves drugs, prostitution, and violence. Marieme’s entry into this fast and strange lifestyle leaves her wondering what home really means.
She deviates from a life of destruction to that of heroism, learning several things about life along the way. The movie was also screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 2014 as part of the Directors’ Fortnight.
49. La Vie scolaire (School Life) (2019)
La Vie Scolaire follows a newly appointed Vice Principal in a middle school situated in the suburbs of Paris. The movie unfolds as she tries to understand the children at the school and also tries to turn things around a little bit.
The movie has been critically acclaimed for being entertaining as a modern-day teen comedy-drama. It also garnered the Cinephiles for the Future award from the Seville European Film Festival. The tropes used have been called well utilized.
50. Something in the Air (2012)
Something in the Air from 2012 can only be described as Olivier Assayas’ very own cine memoir. The coming-of-age and delicate drama follows a floppy-haired man whose life goes from being focused on political activism to, eventually, an artistic awakening.
This awakening leads him to the cinema. This film captured the post-May generation as a bunch of people who were as beautiful as their ideals were. It focuses less on being a strict autobiography, and Assayas’ most personal work rather serves as a dose of his own defining interests as well as a primer for his work. As beautiful as any of his work to date.
51. Tomboy (2011)
Tomboy is one of the few films in the last decade that was truly perfect in some sense. The Celine Sciamma movie from 2011 is a pure and unforgettable account of the coming-of-age genre. It sensitively and realistically deals with how someone struggles with gender identity in the modern world.
Zoe Heran stars as a child named Laure, who looks androgynous. They are given a blank canvas upon which they are to figure out their own identity when their family moves to a new place.
In just a runtime of 82 minutes, Tomboy presents a raw but beautiful narrative of the complementary relationship between gender and sex while also additionally emphasizing gender identity. Laure keeps their anatomy a secret from the world, but throughout the movie, they prove how little of a concern it is.
The movie is a great representation, a sensitive yet beautiful approach to the modern-day questions of identity, especially in terms of gender expression.
52. La Jetee (1962)
La Jetee from 1962 is based in Paris that lies in ruins after World War III. A scientist is researching time travels and decides to send his various subjects to different points in time for several purposes. He meets a prisoner who has a vivid memory of his childhood pre-war and considers him a proper subject.
When this subject travels through time, he gets to know of the incident he faces as a child. Truly an impressive sci-fi movie for its time, even ahead of its time in some aspects.
53. The Beat That My Heart Skipped (2005)
The Beat That My Heart Skipped from 2005 is a successful remake of the 1978 movie named “Fingers.” It was made by the celebrated French filmmaker Jacques Audiard. This tense thriller focuses on a gifted musician (Romain Duris) whose life becomes a dichotomy between that full of crime and him becoming a concert pianist.
Romain Duris gives his best performance in the movie, and the 2005 release is very well Audiard’s best film as well. The unfolding of tension with some sense of greater elegance is the way this movie impresses throughout the plot. A wonderful creation that gives a certain nostalgia regarding underworld sagas from the early days.
54. Certified Copy (2010)
Another Juliet Binoche feature in this list is the 2010 movie “Certified Copy.” Juliet appears alongside William Shimmell in this elegant Abbas Kiarostami film. The film is a say on how declarative relationships in modern times can be.
It follows the British writer James (William Shimmell) and an unnamed French antique dealer (Juliet Binoche) while they walk around and talk.
Soon the conversation gets deeper, and these two strangers realize that they may know each other; while it is not clear if it was in this life or a past one, they did share an intimate relationship. This is the premise of the movie, of two people meeting by chance but feeling a sense of reunion in the process.
55. Les Dames Du Bois De Boulogne (1945)
Perhaps the oldest entry on this list is director Robert Bresson’s second feature, “Les Dames Du Bois De Boulogne,” from 1945. He employs his signature filmmaking technique to weave together a strange love story.
A high society woman lays a scheme to meddle in and initiate an affair between her aristocratic ex-lover and a prostitute. The plot sees this woman try to use cunning ways to she can make this union come to life.
56. Swimming Pool (2003)
Swimming Pool is a passionate noir movie from 2003 by Francois Ozon that seems to be quite straightforward at first. It is the story of a British novelist named Sarah Morton (Charlotte Rampling). She goes to the countryside to overcome a time of writer’s block and clear her head.
When she visits her publisher’s luxurious home, his alleged daughter Julie (Ludivine Sagnier) shows up out of nowhere. Julie soon launches a series of sexual ventures on the property and also forces Sarah to submit to a curious scenario she did not expect.
She soon finds herself drawn to Julie’s sexual advances and feels that she can use this experience to enrich her writing experience. However, soon enough, a violent third act manifests itself and poses problems for Sarah.
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