Best new French Movies (2016) - Top Netflix & Cinema
The country where cinema was born… the biggest and most important film industry of Europe. Where to start? An impossible task, but we somehow managed to compose a list of the best French movies. Definitely not exhaustive!
The Vore's Film staff selects the top best French movies of 2016 in cinema or on DVD or Netfix. Are Olivier Assayas, Mia Hansen-Løve & Céline Sciamma France's biggest directors? Breaking down the best French films of 2014, and the new French films for 2015 proved to be one hell of a job. 2012 was already an excellent year for French cinema with Rust & Bone, Holy Motors and Dans La Maison, 2013 blew us away with modern classics like La Vie d’Adele.
I do not think that in the last decade I have been able to put together such a hugely diverse list consisting of 8 French films that each are masterpieces in their own right. 2013’s list gives the French cinephile more than he could ever hope for – it has romance, comedy, thrillers, but mainly interpersonal dramas revolving around themes such as sexuality & lust (in six out of the eight films our desires of the flesh are recurrent themes).
Isabelle Huppert, Lars Eidinger & Nora von Waldstätten
Elle, Dheepan & Ma Loute
Amount of country films per year from 2010 to 2017 267 French movies scheduled for release this year. Pinpointing the number of French films coming out each year is terribly difficult, as France is one of the biggest co-producers in the world, and also co-produces many American movies.
List of highest grossers of the decade & budget
The Intouchables was a huge Box Office success internationally with $426M. That in the US only $13M was collected really says something about how the US treats French cinema.
2010's best rated French movies out on DVD, Bluray or streaming on VOD (Netflix, Amazon).
Personal Shopper (20-10-2016, 105 minutes)
After much praise for her appearance in 'Clouds of Sils Maria', Kristen Stewart returns in Assayas' new feature. Personal Shopper is a surprising and unsettling film about a young American girl in Paris coming to terms with her deceased brother.
Paul Verhoeven's brilliant return to form is a wildly funny and disturbing tale of a woman (Isabelle Huppert) determined to avenge her rapist. This might sound like your average exploitation revenge flick, but it isn't like anything you've seen!
Sciamma is a master in potraying the growing pains of young girls. Naissance de Pieuvres dealt with a fourteen year old girl falling in love with another girl at a swimming pool during a hot long summer and Tomboy told the story of a ten year old cross dresser. Her latest effort is without a doubt her strongest; yet again a beautifully photographed film about a teenage girl from the outskirts of Paris dealing with love, friendship and gender issues. Please make sure to check out our LGBT list to read more on Sciamma’s films.
Very recently, it was announced that Kristen Stewart is the first American actress in over a thirty years to be nominated for a César Award, the French equivalent of the Oscar. If it had not been sufficiently proved yet, then Clouds of Sils Maria absolutely does: there’s more to Stewart than that sulky girl in love with vampires. In Clouds, Kristen Stewart plays the agent of an aging actress Maria(Binoche) who becomes haunted by her past as she takes on a role in a play that once launched her career. The two rehearse in a remote villa in the French Alps, which ends up in a psychological clash between the young and the aging as Maria has to come to terms with her fading career.
Juliette Binoche, Kristen Stewart & Chloë Grace Moretz
Olivier Assayas (Summer Hours, Clean & Paris, je t'aime)
While the editors of Cahier du Cinema felt that L’inconnu du Lac topped La Vie d’Adele, I personally prefer the intimate, (lets just say it) voyeuristic portrait of a young French girl who is unsure of her sexual orientation in La Vie d’Adele. It is without a doubt the best French film of 2013 (for the US and UK 2014). In this coming of age story we follow Adele, a high schooler, who starts her first lesbian relationship with an enigmatic older bohemian artist played by Lea Seydoux. The film was immediately recognized for what it is, a masterpiece. It was honored with the Palme d’Or prize at Cannes Filmfestival, and the two female leads got special mentions. Besides much critical acclaim, there were non-sense objections made against the 10 minute love scene which was described as pornographic. The film got extra juicy when later on Seydoux and Exarchopoulos accused the French-Tunisian director of not making them feel comfortable and because of the harsh working conditions made them feel like prostitutes. In sum, more than enough reason to go see it.
Part thriller, part romance gay drama, Eastern Boys tells the story of Daniel, a middle-aged Parisian men who embarks on a potentially dangerous romantic relationship with a young immigrant from Eastern Europe. In his naivety, he invites the boy over at his house, unaware of his dangerous friends who use Daniel merely as a bait. Eastern Boys is one of those rare hybrid films which is both tender during its romantic scenes and nerve-wracking during others.
One of my favorite modern French filmmakers, François Ozon, never fails to beautifully frame intimate interpersonal dramas, often touching upon controversial and almost juicy topics, with great honesty and sincerity. Perhaps best known for his English/French spoken ‘thriller film’ Swimming Pool (2003), and more recently with one of the best French films of 2012, Dans la Maison (2012), Ozon released the highly anticipated Jeune et Jolie aka Young and Beautiful in early 2013. His film, featuring the astonishing Marine Vacth (above), portraits the story of a 17-year old upper-class Parisian girl who takes the exploration of sexuality to a whole new level by secretly trying her luck as a call girl. Jeune et Jolie, not unlike most Ozon films, is a visual treat, but perhaps lacks the depth of his previous films. Despite the often heard critique that the film is slightly superficial, Jeune et Jolie remains an absolute must-watch because it succeeds in making the viewer relate to – and understand the desire to sell your body, and the odd sense of satisfaction it accomplishes.
An a-typical ‘revenge’ film-noir that through mesmerizing yet disturbing scenes unfolds into a genre film without you realizing it. Completely stripped of actual action scenes, Les Salauds gets under your skin slowly, and does not let go until the end. The amazingly intuitive and visual storytelling by the experienced Claire Denis, keeps you in a constant a state of pleasant bewilderment, never really getting a grip on the characters, but strongly feeling their emotions. In the lead we find Marco, played by Vincent Lindon (Welcome, 2009)) who returns to Paris to target the man who Marco’s sister holds responsible for the suicide of her husband.
Admittedly, the trailer of Venus in Fur, Roman Polanski’s latest project, is anything but inviting. Fortunately the film itself shows the genius of Roman Polanski, and deserves a place amongst the best French films 2013. The film is, in a nutshell, about an actress who desperately wants to persuade a director to cast her for a role in his play. La Vénus à la fourrure is very well received, and as not uncommon for Polanski films has also polarized the audience.
In the current influx of gay-themed films L’inconnu du Lac is the top of the bill. It is magnificently subtle and spectacularly in-your-face at the same time. Placed in a Eric Rohmer kind of setting at a picturesque French lake where men come to spend their summer days, and occasionally have intercourse in the nearby woods. One of the sun and sex worshippers is Franck who falls in love with the attractive and manly Michel, one of the other guests, although he knows full well that Michel cannot be trusted and is highly dangerous. The film gives the viewer a great sense of the local gay-scene, and despite that the film is largely a very light story, it at one point slowly transforms into a dark yet subtle thriller. A modern French film by Alain Guiraudie (Le roi de l’évasion, 2009) that could truly become a cult classic.
Ozon's latest is a beautiful film in black and white about a young woman mourning the death of fiance in the aftermath of World War I. Her life suddenly changes when an old friend of her deceased lover shows up... a recipe for a wheepy, you might think, but in the hands of Ozon, this films turns out to be quite something different.
Mia Hansen-Love (who’s abovementioned directors’ Olivier Assayas wife by the way) directed a handful of small, beautiful films like Le Pére de mes Enfants (2009) and Un Amour de Jeunesse (2011). With Eden, she’ll probably reach a slightly bigger audience: the film unfolds the story of the rise of the French house scene in the nineties through the eyes of an aspiring DJ and is scored by electro icons Daft Punk.