In the south of France and in our French language school, the month of May is all about cinema. Every year, the prestigious film Festival takes over Cannes and the French Riviera. There are tons of French films that are absolute must-sees. This month, we have selected five of them — one per decade — that you definitely should watch to understand better the French cinematic culture and improve your French level or learn French in the same time.
By Jacques Demy, with Catherine Deneuve and Françoise Dorléac This musical is a feel-good film and a hymn to the French joie de vivre. The songs from the film have become classics that all French, both young and old, know. With celebrity guests such as Gene Kelly, Les Demoiselles de Rochefort is a musical journey full of delightful surprises.
By Bertrand Blier, with Gérard Depardieu This film is quirky to say the least, breaking the rules of good conduct. The duet Depardieu & Dewaere embark on a tumultuous road trip to escape the police. All along their maiden trip, they meet various different yet equally inspiring women.
By Jean-Marie Poiré with Thierry Lhermitte, Marie-Anne Chazel, Gérard Jugnot This comedy is a series of jokes and quotes that have become everyday expressions. Adapted from a play, Le Père Noël Est Une Ordure is the work of the Splendid theatre company whose actors almost all became celebrity comedians in France.
By Mathieu Kassovitz with Vincent Cassel This film is a trip into the life of three young men from a Parisian banlieue (impoverished neighborhood). Inspired by true events that saw a young Black student die after an altercation with the police, La Haine is an ingenious blend of politics, drama, and humor. Beyond the strong message of La Haine, Kassovitz has been acclaimed for his exceptional film editing and directing.
By Jacques Audiard with Romain Duris In this film, Romain Duris (made famous by another must-see film: L’Auberge Espagnole) plays a ruthless real estate agent going as far as evicting poor families fro; their apartment. But after an encounter with the impresario of his late mother — a talented pianist — he decides to start playing piano again and to prepare for a very important audition. Have you seen any of those films? Do you agree with this selection? Let us know what your thoughts are by commenting below.