Tuesday, April 03, 2018

French Movies and Movies Set in France

Not only am I reading in prep for my trip to France this summer, but I'm also watching movies in French or set in France.

Here's what I've watched so far:

Amelie - in French, absolutely charming--visiting Les Duex Magots in Montmatre is now a must-do.

Midnight in Paris - a Woody Allen movie, starring Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams--pretty trite and lightweight and predictable--fun to see Paris but not much to offer beyond that.

La Vie en Rose - in French, movie bio about Edith Piaf--incredible acting by Marion Cotillard as Piaf. I downloaded her greatest hits after watching. What a voice! What a sad life, though, despite her stardom.

10 Jour en or (10 Golden Days) - in French, another charming movie, this time about a bachelor who gets saddled with an immigrant refugee boy.

The Intouchables - in French, an unlikely friendship develops between a wealthy quadriplegic (François Cluzet) and his caretaker (Omar Sy), just released from prison. Loved this movie!!!

Saving Private Ryan - my first time watching this, incredibly powerful. After a week in Paris, we are spending our second week in Normandy, and I've already booked a full-day tour of the British and American beaches used in D-Day.

Les Choristes (The Chorus) - in French, another amazingly good movie, set in a home for troubled boys in 1949, the new teacher is a musician who brings discipline to the classroom and structure and purpose to his pupils when he forms them into a choir.

Having a great time discovering some new movies, listening to French, and seeing the city and the countryside. Vive la France!

Any other recommendations for me?


  1. My favorite French films are Jean de Florette/Manon de Sources (its a two part film dealing with the same story) and Pagnol's Marseilles trilogy. Pagnol also wrote Jean de Florette but someone else directed it. The Marseilles films are wonderful, made in the 1930s. Watch them and laugh the next time anyone claims that Marlon Brando invented naturalistic acting. Jaques Tati is also a favourite, Mon Oncle and Monsoir Hulot's Holiday but they may not be what you need prior to a trip. There is no real dialogue so wont help your French! The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is a fabulous curio. Sort of a musical in which the dialogue is all sung. Cyrano de Bergerac with Gerard Depardieu is fun if not as memorable as the previous suggestions. Then there are any number of excellent Truffaut films (Jules et Jim is particularly good). But do look out for the Pagnol films - written, directed or both.

  2. Jules and Jim is on the list, and I plan on rewatching Jean de Florette and Manon of the Spring, but I hadn't heard about the Marseilles films. Thanks so much for the suggestions, Spencer. Nice hearing from you!

  3. I haven't seen that many French films, but I do remember the block buster Diva from the 1980s. It is sort of a heist film but with Opera. I've seen it since and I think it holds up.

  4. I love Midnight in Paris! Have watched it twice, and perhaps would watch it again, if only to get a glimpse of Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, and Picasso!

  5. A trip to France sounds very exciting! You know, of all of these, I've only watched Saving Private Ryan. I have new movies I need to check out. I like watching the movie versions of Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables - but I'm a fan of musicals! :-)

  6. Amelie and Midnight in Paris are the only two movies on your list that I've watched, and I felt the same way about both of them as you did.
    The only other movie I've watched that is set in France is Chocolat. I liked the movie, but the book was even better.

  7. I've seen most of these. Saving Private Ryan and Midnight in Paris were good. I'm drawing a bit of a blank on French movies but perhaps the Suite Francaise movie (good) and Paris Can Wait (havent seen it yet) and A Good Year (been awhile). Enjoy

  8. I can't say I have any favorite movies set in France, but I do love going there! I hope you have a fantastic trip. We've really enjoyed trips to Normandy, Bordeaux, Provence, and Paris -- which I haven't seen nearly enough of, but I loved Montmartre.

  9. I'm sure you have lots to see in Paris but the Palais Garner (Paris Opera House) is really beautiful. If you have time, a side trip to Giverney to see Monet's house and garden is absolutely worth it. We did a tour with a half-day in Giverney, lunch at a beautiful historic inn, and an afternoon at Versailles.

  10. I love Amelie, but haven't seen it in a while. I should try and watch it again. If you go to the cafe, make sure you take the metro, then you can walk up all those stairs that she did too. I've done that- but not visited the cafe.

    I loved The Intouchables too and have seen it a couple of times. Omar Sy is worth checking out. He has a new movie that's about to be released in Australia (but I can't remember the name just now).

    My favourite Paris movie is Angel-A. It's shot in black and white in a nearly empty Paris in August. The cinematography alone is worth watching. I don't remember the story nearly so well. It's been a while since I last saw it, but I bought a copy on DVD I loved it so much.

    Hmmm, I'm making myself quite the to do list..