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The Greatest French Films Ever – Part 2

The second edition of our foray into the world of the greatest French films ever made takes us on another cinematic adventure of some of the best French movies. In part one we looked at some classics including Amelie and Les Enfants du Paradis, and in this edition we look at a classic from director Jean-Luc Godard and the highly entertaining The Artist among others.

Le Mepris

Contempt directed by Jean-Luc Godard, is a riveting domestic film about the feelings Brigitte Bardot has for her boyfriend Paul, played by Michel Piccoli. The plot is based around the complicated relationship that the couple have, and his obsession with the movies. Goddard’s direction is superb throughout the film aided by Raoul Coutard’s excellent camera work. Together they have produced a sheer masterpiece that is powerful both visually and in the acting. This film is more about the director than the star cast.

The Artist

An interesting movie about Hollywood just before the invention of the talkie movie. Directed by Michel Hazanavicius who is better known for his spoof James Bond films, he recreates 1920’s Hollywood and perfectly captures the glittering era. The clever use of old silent film techniques gives this film an authentic air to it, and the movie is a testament to how movie making used to be. It is also touched with sadness as The Artist depicts the final throws of the silent movie era expressed in a mighty melodrama.

L’Armee des Ombres

A fantastic thriller directed by Jean-Pierre Melville released in 1969 which is a discreet tribute to the resistance heroes of France. The audience take a roller-coaster ride, tracing the valiant deeds of these most heroic characters. The film traces the exploits of a small group of resistance operatives, who at every step are in danger of torture and death. Many of the action scenes are portrayed in a grey color by cameraman Pierre Lhomme which brings a tense reality to the whole movie.

Day for Night

Everybody loves a great comedy, and Day for Night is a hilarious look at the film industry. Francois Truffaut, the director takes the themes and creates genius cinematic situations from neurotic films such as 8 ½ to family musicals such as On the Town. Truffaut actually stars in his own movie, and he plays the indefatigable director Ferrand who is busy filming his own melodrama. Every emotion known to have plagued directors is brought out in this entertaining romp of a film.

Les Demoiselles de Rochfort

Musicals have always been a big favorite when it comes to French Cinema. Les Demoiselles de Rochfort is a classic in this respect, this 1967 musical has the qualities that makes compelling viewing such as romance, dreams and destiny. The plot follows a pair of twins that were born under Gemini, and their desire to leave their small town for the big city. The musical score is written by the legendary Michel Legrand and is bound to have you out of your seat and dancing in the cinema aisles. The concluding part of the best ever French films is in part three of this blog.