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The 100 best French films: 10-2

Our definitive countdown of the finest French films – as chosen by industry experts

10

La Belle et la Bête (1946)

Director: Jean Cocteau

Cocteau's fairytale set standards in fantasy which few other film-makers have reached. Despite the Vermeer-like compositions, he has some trouble capturing the right tone for the 'realistic' scenes...

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9

The 400 Blows (1959)

Director: François Truffaut

Write about what you know, they say. So in 1959 François Truffaut, neglected son, passionate reader, delinquent student and cinephile, wrote and filmed one of the first glistening droplets of the French New Wave...

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8

Blue is the Warmest Colour / La vie d'Adèle (2013)

5 out of 5 stars

Director: Abdellatif Kechiche

Our heroine, Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos), begins the film as a precocious high-schooler and ends it as a grown woman still with plenty to learn about herself. Unlike so many same-sex-themed films that focus on coming out as the defining gay experience, ‘Blue is the Warmest Colour’ glides past that stage of Adèle’s life in a bold chronological leap, finding more nuanced drama in the evolving challenges of maintaining an unfixed sexuality...

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7

L'Atalante (1934)

Director: Jean Vigo

Some filmmakers have a lifetime in which to develop their art, to explore their themes, to express their world view. Others do it in a single film. 1934’s ‘L’Atalante’ is the single feature from the then 29-year-old French master Jean Vigo and was made as its director died of TB...

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6

The Artist (2011)

4 out of 5 stars

Director: Michel Hazanavicius

‘The Artist’ is shot in exactly the same speechless, monochrome style as the movies in which our tragic hero, actor George Valentin (Dujardin), employs a canny arched eyebrow or breaks out into a rip-roaring tap-dancing routine to woo his adoring audience. It’s 1927, Valentin is a star, but, oh no, is that the sound of… sound, on the horizon?

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5

Contempt / Le Mepris (1963)

Director: Jean-Luc Godard

If Godard could be reduced to a single genius idea — essential to his filmmaking if obviously not the whole story — it might go something like this: To love cinema is to love life. He is the original movie geek, swaddling his films in adoring reference, and embracing, pushing, reveling in the plasticity of pop...

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4

Playtime (1967)

Director: Jacques Tati

Tati's Hulot on the loose in a surreal, scarcely recognisable Paris, tangling intermittently with a troop of nice American matrons on a 24-hour trip. Not so much a saga of the individual against an increasingly dehumanised decor, it's more a semi-celebratory symphony to Tati's sensational city-set...

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3

The Intouchables (2011)

2 out of 5 stars

Directors: Olivier Nakache & Éric Toledano

Interested to see what’s popular in France these days? The Weinstein Company’s got your back. Harvey and friends picked up stateside distribution rights to this watchable yet completely inconsequential Gallic dramedy after it shattered box-office records in its home country...

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2

Amélie (2001)

4 out of 5 stars

Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Arguably the quintessential subtitled film for people who don’t like subtitled films (it’d be a dust-up between this and ‘Cinema Paradiso’), Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s rose-tinted Parisian romance is wheeled out once more to celebrate its tenth anniversary. Likely to be the role for which actress Audrey Tautou will be remembered until her dying day...

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No. 1

Comments

3 comments
JP ñ

Quelle prétention !! Qui êtes-vous pour vous permettre un tel classement comme s'il était sans appel ! Je respecte vos préférences, mais je ne les partage pas et de loin !

SVP un peu de modestie et appelez votre classement  " Nos 100 films Français préférés"  par exemple ou quelque chose dans ce genre.

Shane K

@JP ñ  Id really like to read your top ten (or 5) if you are interested in replying. I think people understand that these lists are not definitive. It is just a title and opinion is presumed.

James Knox

i haven't seen almost all of these