Bonjour! I'm going all French today, you might know that I studied French and Francophone Culture when I was at University - my course was very much half and half between language and culture and for the culture side of things we studied a LOT of Francophone cinema. This was my favourite part of my course without a shadow of a doubt and it has sparked a mini-French speaking film library in my name. I've picked out six of my favourites from my collection! (Don't worry, you can watch them with subtitles, too!)
First up is C.R.A.Z.Y. (2005) which is a French-Canadian film. Set in 1960s - 1970s Quebec with a soundtrack of Patsy Cline (guess which song!) and David Bowie. The focus of the film is around a family coming to terms with the sexuality of their son. It is full of wit, a great soundtrack and it you (like me) watch Mad Men for the style, then you should enjoy this.
Next is Paris, Je T'aime (2006) this is a collection of 18 short films all set in Paris, different directors and different styles all linked together by the setting. Each film is around 10 minutes long so you can stop and start it without forgetting the story!
Belleville Rendezvous otherwise known as The Triplets of Belleville (2003) is quite possibly my favourite French film. It is a charming little cartoon with next to no speaking what so ever (not a childish cartoon, though). I fall in love with it all over again every time that I watch it. Look out for the dog, Bruno, he is my favourite character! If you watch it you will probably say at the end 'that was weird!' but please trust me, it is a fantastic sort of weird!
Coco Before Chanel (2009) is one which you may have seen as it was publicised here in the UK a bit more than most other French speaking films, a mixture of it being Audrey Tautou who us Brits seem to use as the stereotypical Frenchwoman (which I think is a shame as she is a fabulous actress anyway) and not forgetting the marketability of Coco Chanel. This is a biopic of how Gabrielle (Coco) Chanel came to be Coco Chanel. It is very beautiful to look at and if you like period dramas - you'll love it for the aesthetics alone.
Persepolis (2008) is another that you might recognise, it was a graphic novel written by Marjane Satrapi and was then made into a film. I love that this story is autobiographical as well, it is such a different way to tell a personal story. This is another cartoon film, again, not a childish cartoon. It depicts a young girl growing up during the Iranian revolution in a Marxist family. This one is a history lesson as well, I didn't have a great knowledge of the Iranian revolution before watching this, but it is an amazing story too!
Finally, I am sure that you will know of Amelie (I almost died when I looked up to see that this was released is 2001!) this was the film which gave us Audrey Tautou as the typically weird young Frenchwoman. It has the charm that a lot of films by this director (Jean-Pierre Jeunet) have and if you haven't seen it then you really ought too. It has humor, a love interest and an investigation - something for everyone!
I have a heck of a lot of Francophone films ranging from Georges Méliès in the 1800s (if you have seen Hugo that was the old film-maker!) to everything that I have just listed above. A few that aren't so good ranging to some of my all-time favourite films! I have linked all of the films to their listing on Amazon should you like to give any of them a go, I really hope that you do as these ones are fantastic and I am sure that you'll love them as much as I do!
Have you seen any of these films? Or are there any that you love that I haven't mentioned here? Let me know!