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Masterpieces of French cinema you should see

edited January 2013 in French
Often considered one of the greatest masterpiece of French cinema, Les Enfants du Paradis (Children of Paradise) possesses all the qualities of a nearly perfect movie: a great love story supported by a shining, multi-layered screenplay (by French poet Jacques Prevert), beautiful cinematography, and most of all of course, superb actors. 

The film was made under very difficult conditions during the German occupation, and its story actually contains allegories of the Resistance itself.

Here is a link to the famous mime scene (played by Jean-Louis Barrault, with Arletty)

(French translation)
Souvent consideré comme un des plus grands chef-d'œuvres du cinéma français, Les Enfants du Paradis possède toutes les qualités d'un film presque parfait: une belle histoire d'amour supportée par un brillant scénario à plusieurs niveaux (par le poète français Jacques Prévert), une photographie magnifique, et par-dessus tout bien-sûr, des acteurs superbes.

Le film a été réalisé dans des conditions très difficiles, pendant l'occupation allemande, et son histoire contient en fait des allégories sur la Résistance elle-même.

Voici un lien vers la fameuse scène du mime (jouée par Jean-Louis Barrault, avec Arletty)


  • I am so ashamed but I have to admit that I never watched the movie. Of course, I've heard many times that it is a masterpiece of French cinema. When I was young, I remembered they always played the movie during the Christmas holidays and after midnight! I wonder why...
    Well, it's never too late to watch a great movie and I just got it!
    Thanks for the recommendation Sev!

  • Je t'en prie, Xuan Nga :) 

     Criterion Collection has a magnificent version. The movie is in two parts. Just make sure you are in a romantic/poetic mood, and with no distraction, to fully appreciate this masterwork.
  • Sev
    edited January 2013
    Wages of Fear is another timeless French masterpiece. Some of you may know remakes of it have been done since, but the original film remains unsurpassed.

    Again, the Criterion Collection offers the finest version (with english subtitles) in american dvds: The Wages of Fear. I highly recommend it.

    Here is a trailer (unfortunately without subtitles).
  • Sev
    edited January 2013
    Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot is a charming comedy by the actor, writer, and director Jacques Tati. This film catches to perfection the carefree, idyllic summer holidays in France in the 1950's, when the memories of WWII seemingly had faded into oblivion.

    It was shot in the seaside village of Saint-Marc-sur-Mer (Loire Atlantique region). The Hôtel de la Plage still exist, and a statue of the director stands nearby, facing the beach.

    Mon Oncle, the following film by Tati (in color this time), is considered by many to be his masterpiece, and of course, I recommend it as highly as Mr Hulot's Holidays.
  • La Belle et la Bête (Beauty and the Beast) is a fabulous film in black and white by multi-talented French artist and poet Jean Cocteau. 

    Criterion Collection has a beautiful print on dvd. Check the trailer narrated by Cocteau himself (with English subtitles).

  • Sev
    edited March 2013
    François Truffaut is one of the great directors of the French New Wave cinema of the 1960's. and his work is now part of the French canon.

    His first film and 1959 signature classic is 'Les Quatre Cents Coups (lit., the 400 blows), an expression which is translated as 'to raise hell, but more precisely means doing a lot of mischiefs or even criminal acts.

    It follows the fictional character Antoine Doinel, a sort of alter ego for Truffaut who then made four other films over 20 years with this protagonist, always with the same actor Jean-Pierre Léaud.

    Here is the trailer.
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