Amélie Poulain, the iconic dark-eyed French was once said “These are hard times for dreamers”. And we cannot deny it, especially when it comes to step outside our comfort zone. No, I am not talking about the mental space we all live in, I am just saying that the idea of a cosy evening on the sofa is often more tempting. Fortunately, there is a ray of hope for those ravenous for popcorn and good stories eaters: films can make you dream, discover and can bring you to an unexpected universe. And let’s be honest, sometimes not even a plane can take you as far as a good movie… and you do not even have to bear an air hostess selling electronic cigars!
So, why not embark for a French adventure tonight? Those are 5 of the best-not-too-old movies from the land of Jean Reno and Gérard Depardieu (Oh, wait…)
5. Skirt day
What would you do if you found a gun in one of your student’s bag? This is a brilliant confrontational critique of the French society through a portrayal of the public school system. If you enjoyed watching The Class, be prepared to plunge into an even more provocative scenario.
Original title: La journée de la jupe │Year: 2008 │Director: Jean-Paul Lilienfeld
4. A Prophet
Absorbing prison drama. A young Arab Malik is taken into a French prison, where he becomes a mafia top dog. Be ready to use your brain…
Original Title: Un Prophète │ Year: 2009 │Director: Jacques Audiard
3. The Intouchables
A heartening friendship story. How can a rich and presumptuous quadriplegic and his bald-faced live-in carer get along? Beautiful and touching comedy drama everyone would love!
Original title: Intouchables │Year: 2011 │Director: Olivier Nakache
2. Welcome to the Sticks
A funny, yet moving, movie that beautifully makes fun of the clichés and strong accent from the very North of France. This film offers a humorous reflection of the differences between the northern people and those from the south. Learn the cultural differences from Northern and Southern French people with humor! A stranger who comes to the North cries twice: once when he arrives, and once when he is leaving.
Original title: Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis │Year: 2008 │Director: Dany Boon
Love, dreams and Paris. Amélie is devoted to make others happy, while she is trying to pursue her romantic daydreams. Mischievously magic. A must see, that is all I can say to convince you… It’s better to help people than garden gnomes..
Original title: Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain │Year: 2001 │Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Of course there are dozens of films we could rank in this list, but I believe my list can certainly outline the main dimensions of the French cinema: enchanting, gripping, comical and committed.
A good dose of pain au chocolat flavoured popcorns and French dreams.