The 100 best French films: 40-31

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40-31

40

Hiroshima mon amour (1959)

Director: Alain Resnais

Hiroshima's mushroom cloud has probably inspired more glib statements and images than any other 20th century phenomenon. So it's particularly refreshing to find that it still has some meaning in Resnais' first feature, now

39

Les Diaboliques (1955)

Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot

Devilishly suspenseful, Henri-Georges Clouzot’s thriller about two women who conspire to knock off a sadistic boarding-school headmaster (Paul Meurisse)  – one of the women is his wife, the other his mistress –

38

To Our Loves (À nos amours) (1983)

Director: Maurice Pialat

15-year-old Suzanne (Bonnaire) seems unable to progress beyond a rather doleful promiscuity in her relations with boys. Alone of her family, her father (played by Pialat himself) understands her, but when he leaves home for

37

Lola Montès (1955)

Director: Max Ophüls

A biography of the celebrated 19th century adventuress, but not a biography in the conventional sense: the lady's life is chronicled in a highly selective series of flashbacks, framed by scenes in a New Orleans circus where she

36

Les Tontons flingueurs (1963)

Director: Georges Lautner

35

Le Boucher (1969)

Director: Claude Chabrol

Classically simple but relentlessly probing thriller, set in a French village shadowed by the presence of a compulsive killer. Some lovely Hitchcockian games, like the strange ketchup that drips onto a picnic hamburger from a

34

Breathless (À bout de souffle) (1960)

Director: Jean-Luc Godard

Of all the dysfunctional, sociopathic loners in the long history of cinema, it’s hard to remember one quite as vicious, belligerent and unpredictable as Sang-hoon, anti-hero of Korean character actor Yang Ik-June’s

33

La Jetée (1962)

Director: Chris Marker

“This is the story of a man marked by an image of his childhood.” So begins Chris Marker’s 1962 elliptical 27-minute time-travel adventure, “La Jetée,” a narrated montage of black-and-white still photographs about a

32

Celine and Julie Go Boating (Céline et Julie vont en bateau) (1974)

Director: Jacques Rivette

They meet, like Alice and the White Rabbit, in a sun-dappled French park, amateur illusionist Celine (Juliet Berto) bounding heedlessly past studious librarian Julie (Dominique Labourier). One dropped scarf and a lengthy

31

La Haine (1995)

Director: Mathieu Kassovitz

Twenty-four hours in the Paris projects: an Arab boy is critically wounded in hospital, gut-shot, and a police revolver has found its way into the hands of a young Jewish skinhead, Vinz (Cassel), who vows to even the score

30-21

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