French Film 101

France has always had an intricate relationship with the history of cinema. The Lumiere Brothers are often called the pioneers of cinema, the French New Wave revolutionized cinema and continue to inspire directors, and French movies are always at the vanguard of film. Because of this, we give you some of the best and most important French films of all time.

1. 400 Blows (Les 400 coups, 1959)

One of the most important films of the French New Wave, and Truffaut’s masterpiece, it is regarded as a masterpiece. It explores a troubled youth’s story, which Truffaut followed with several films throughout his career.

2. An Andalusian Dog (Un chien andalou, 1929)

A surrealist short film directed by Luis Buñuel with the help and guidance of Salvador Dali. This film explores dreams and reality, seeking the absurd as a reflection of the rational.

3. The Red Circle (Le cercle rouge, 1970)

Jean-Pierre Melville earned cinematic immortality through this film that plays with chance meetings and destiny, and pushes many limits in the name of exploring art.

4. Hiroshima mon amour (1959)

Alain Resnais’ most acclaimed film, and a beautiful example of art. This film explores the theme of memory and pain, through the short affair of a French woman and a Japanese man in Hiroshima.

5. Breathless (A bout de souffle, 1960)

Jean Luc Godard is perhaps the New Wave’s most famous director. It follows the story of a French criminal in love with an American. Breathless is considered Godard’s masterpiece and is one of the most important French films of all time.

6. Hatred (La haine, 1995)

A film that portrays the reality of the harshness of life in the banlieues of the French capital, *La haine* brought Mathieu Kassovitz worldwide recognition. Fast moving, dynamic, and explosive, the film will take you through a variety of feelings before leaving you in a shocked void of emotions.

7. Amelie (Le fabuleux destin d’Amelie Poulin, 2001)

The film that made the world fall in love with Audrey Tautou, and that has inspired a wave of fantastic, colored, and quirky French films. Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s most acclaimed film has inspired a rebirth of admiration for French cinema.

8. Venus in Fur (Venus a la fourrure, 2013)

Two people in a stage. Leave it to Polanski to make this work in an extraordinary way. The film’s incredible dialogue and impeccable acting have automatically placed it at the top of French cinema lists.

9. Beauty and the Beast (La Belle et la Bête, 1946)

Although slow and often difficult film, it is nevertheless a masterpiece. Cocteau changed cinematic aesthetics with his fantasy shots and his use of light and shadow. To this day, it inspires directors and has marked the history of cinema indefinitely.

10. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Le scaphandre et le papillon, 2007)

Based on the true story of a man who is left completely paralyzed except for one eye. This movie explores human perseverance, and the power of the mind. Julian Schnabel takes viewers on a gorgeous visual journey while telling a heartbreaking and inspiring story.