10 Most Popular French Movies Ever

Monday, January 24 by Amanda Ferguson

The 10 most popular French movies ever are vast and expansive. They typically consist of art house films that changed the way cinema was approached. French movies are known for their serious attitude toward life, however, there are a few light-hearted films as well.

  1. "Belle de Jour" This Luis Bunuel film portrays a lonely housewife, sick of the bourgeoisie. She takes her frustrations out sexually and becomes a secret prostitute. This film was made in 1967 and was widely appreciated for its explicit content.
  2. "La Belle et le Bete" Everyone knows the story of Beauty and the Beast. However, French director Jean Cocteau made the classic fairytale into a dark, adult drama. In 1946, he used the best special effects possible in order to create a sense of magic that only lent itself to this mysterious world.
  3. "Breathless" This film is French art house, at its finest. The two lead characters' rapport can be interpreted with the relationship between America and France, love-hate. In 1960, "Breathless" revolutionized film edited as it introduced a beautiful new effort in the use of jump cuts.
  4. "Bitter Moon" In 1992, "Bitter Moon" reminded audiences of how sado-masochistic love can be. More like a love "quadrangle" two couples find themselves in a web of lust, sexual desire, and anger. The relationships in this film were so juxtaposed, that it left audiences questioning every relationship they had ever had.
  5. "Hiroshima, Mon Amour" By using the cutting style of flash backs, "Hiroshima, Mon Amour" recounts the two lead characters' pasts as they have a love affair. The flashbacks were revolutionary in 1959 and inspired subsequent filmmakers. Not only was the style of storytelling new and interesting, but the film consisted of political commentary based upon the bombing of Hiroshima.
  6. "Jules et Jim" Two men falling in love with the same woman. This classic love triangle is what French film is all about. However, on the surface its about love, but beneath its depths, its about the human condition and all its complications.
  7. "Swimming Pool" A modern thriller with dashes of sexuality. "Swimming Pool" dissects the strange relationship between two women. It also delves into how humans have a chameleon-like nature that tends to harm instead of heal.
  8. "The Discrete Charm of the Bourgeoisie" This film used black comedy and surrealism to create a dialogue between fantasy and reality. Audiences left feeling confused, but completely understanding all at the same time.
  9. "Diva" This film was a modern take on the classic French film New Wave style. The story plays a backdrop as the characters are more deeply discovered by the audience. As opera plays a crucial role in the film, it dictates each character's inner thoughts and emotions.
  10. "One Swallow Brought Spring" This film tells the tale of an unlikely friendship between an old farmer and a young city girl. Both proud in their own way, they get put together in an environment that is new to them. After some time, they learn more about themselves then they predicted.
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