My 15 French films suggestion

(Films shot since 1990)

Introduction : This isn’t a list of the most renowned French films only. It’s a subjective list of 15 films I particularly liked or loved.

15 films shot since 1990 (I’ll post a list of French films shot before this date later). Some are funny, some aren’t. Some of them are very well known, some are less known.Illustration - My 15 Franch films suggestion

Films can be seen a great reflection of a country and watching French films can be a good way to get to know more about France and its culture.

… alike architecture, music and meeting French people, novels by French authors, French songs, French cooking books…and so on

Unfortunately, I know that one often think that French films are boring,…!!! This could be partly true and that’s what you might think and feel about some of the films of this list

As you know already, I am French. Thus, if you think that those films are boring , I must be very very French…!!! But I hope I’m not too boring…!!! Nevertheless I hope you’ll enjoy some of the films mentionned in this list

If you’ve already watched some of them or when you’ve seen some after reading this article, I’d enjoy hearing about your appreciation and your feelings

The films are ordered from earliest to latest.


1 – La discrete (1990)  –  Comedy-Drama           

Director and co-author : Christian Vincent

Stars : Fabrice Luchini, Judith Henry

Antoine (the narrator and main character) has been duLa discrètemped by his girlfriend and has no inspiration for a next novel. In an attempt to find a solution, he decides to seduce a young woman with the singular purpose fo keeping a diary of the seduction and then break up before publishing the book about it. Unforttunately, he falls in love with her…

In my opinion ; No surprise I like this film… As its Director (Christian Vincent) is said to be an admirer of Eric Rohmer…And I especially like Eric Rohmer’s films (New Wave/Nouvelle vague)…   So this film may sound as special as Eric Rohmer’s films and for this reason you may not like this film… I love it for the atmosphere, for the acting by F Lucchini and Judith Henry, for the Paris’ background. One scene takes place in the famous “Café de la Mairie” at Place Saint Sulpice at Odeon/Saint Germain des Prés neighbourhood.



2 – Nelly and Monsieur Arnaud (1995) – Drama

(Original title : Nelly et Monsieur Arnaud)

Director :  Claude Sautet

Stars : Nelly (Emmanuelle Béart), Monsieur Arnaud (Michel Serrault), Jean Jugues Anglade.

Music : Philippe Sarde
NellyNelly is married to Jerôme. She meets by chance M Arnaud, a mature and wealthy just retired businessman. She has fallen six months behind on the rent for the apartment in which she lives with her husband. Nelly type up Mister Arnaud’s memoirs. Nelly thus learns more about Mr Arnaud’s life. Begins a strange and special relationship between the two personalities.


Notes : It won the César award for best director and best actor from Michel Serrault. A film to be watched for the great French director (Claude Sautet) and Michel Serrault and Emmanuelle Beart’s excellent performance. A subtle film which explores many emotions.

One of my most favorite films. And Michel Serrault and Claude Sautet have a special place in my heart



3 – Family resemblance (1996) – comedy

Un air de famille(Original title : Un air de famille)

Director : Cédric Klapisch 

Stars : Jean-Pierre Bacri, Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Agnes Jaoui, Catherine Frot

An upper middle-class French family celebrates a birthday in a restaurant . One evening family history, tensions, and memories clash

Notes : The film won the Cesar award for best writing, best supporting actor and best supporting actress. In this film, scathing phrases and situations..



4 – Marius and Jeannette (1997) – Comedy-Drama-Romance

  (Original title : Marius et Jeannette)

Director : Robert Guédiguian

Stars : Ariane Ascaride, Gérard Meylan, Pascale Roberts

Marius and JeannetteMarius is the keeper of an abandoned cement works in the quarter of l’Estaque in Marseilles. Jeannette is bringing up her two children alone with her poor checkout operator salary. Their meeting won’t be without trouble, since besides material difficulties, both of them are wounded by life. They have to learn how to be happy again.

Notes : A feel good movie. poetic and very touching. A mix of love story, family drama and comedy, joy,  tears and emotion. The film won the César award for best actress, best supporting actor and Best supporting actress,



5 – Amelie (2001) – Comedy-Romance

(Original title  = Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain)

Director : Jean Pierre Jeunet

Stars : Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz, Rufus

Music : Yann Tiersen (Original main theme : “La valse d’Amélie)

AmeieAmelie, a young girl in Paris, resort to her own fantastical world and dreams of love and beauty . She decides to devote her life to the people around her, such as, her father who is obsessed with his garden-gnome, a failed writer, a hypochondriac, the love of her life and a man whose bones are as brittle as glass. But after consuming herself with these escapades – she finds out that she is disregarding her own life and damaging her quest for love.

Notes : A great film worth to be seen, notably for the setting in Montmartre and the music. Most of the locations in the film can be found in Montmartre. The main colors in the film are inspired by the paintings of the Brazilian artist Juarez Machado. It was in 1974 that Jean-Pierre Jeunet began collecting the memories and events that make up the story of Amélie. The part of Amélie was written specifically for Emily Watson, but she had to decine because she didn’t speak French and had already agreed to be in Gosford Park (2001)



6 – The Girl from Paris (2001) – Comedy-Drama

(Original title : Une hirondelle a fait le printemps)

Director : Christian Carion

Stars : Adrien (Michel Serrault), Sandrine (Mathilde Seigner) 

The girl from ParisSandrine, a young Parisian woman, tired of her life in Paris, decides to leave her work in computers and become a farmer. She buys an isolated farm from Adrien, an old farmer who decides it’s time to retire. However, Adrien wants to stay a few more months before moving away from the farm, and the rough winter finds them together… Adrien ‘s arrangement with Sandrine allows him to remain on the farm for 18 months. She is too self-confident to require much help and he is more interested in waiting around for her to fail than offering help. But gradually, they become friends…

Notes : This film is worth seeing for the beauty of the setting  ( in the Vercors region of France) and the wonderful performance of Mathilde Seigner and Michel Serrault (the grouchy old peasant). Great actors and touching characters.



7 – 8 women (2002) – Comedy, drama, mystery and Suspense  

(Original title :  8 femmes)

Director : François Ozon

Stars : Fanny Ardant, Emmanuelle béart, Danielle Darrieux, Catherine Deveneuve, Isabelle Huppert…

8-women-8-femmes.66999At an isolated mansion in the snowy countryside of 1950s France, a family is gathered for the holiday season. But their beloved patriarch has been murdered. The killer  can only be one of the eight women . One murdered man, eight women, each seeming to be eager than the others to know the truth.

Notes : An entertaining film with 8 famous French Actresses. The film is filled with references to beloved classics. With a special like for the scene with Fanny Ardant (signing “A quoi sert de vivre libre” ) which pay homage to Rita Hayworth in Gilda. Fanny Ardant among my best favorite actresses. A part of the film is sung, but not a real musical

Below : “A quoi sert de vivre libre”  by actress Fanny Ardant


8 – OSS 117, Cairo, nest of spies (2006) – Comedy-Adventure

(Original title  : OSS 117, Le Caire, nid d’espions)

DirectoOSS 117r : Michel Hazanavicius

Stars : Jean Dujardin

It’s 1955 and after a fellow agent and close friend disappears, secret agent Hubert Bonisseur de la Bath, a.k.a. OSS 117, is ordered to take his place at the head of a poultry firm in Cairo. This is to be his cover while he is busy investigating, foiling Nazi holdouts, quelling a fundamentalist rebellion, and bedding local beauties.

Notes : An homage to classic spy films. Entertaining/funny. Jean Dujardin is the actor who played in “The artist”



9 – The neighbor (2007) – Comedy Romance

the neighborDirector : Eddie O’Flaherty

Stars : Matthew Modine, Michèle Laroque, Katie Walder 
A guy whose life is in turmoil falls for an attractive real estate broker who moves into the condo next door, but soeisn’t realize that she expects him to move out for her planned renovation.

Notes : Really entertaining. Not a French film but a remake of a French film. Nevertheless, I included it in this list because of the irresistible Michelle Laroque, French actress, who was playing in the original French version too.Though I prefer much more the French version with M Laroque and Richard Berry (It was a telefilm). Great for Michelle Laroque, definitly one of my most favorite actress




10 – 2 days in Paris (2007) – Comedy 

2 days in ParisDirector : Julie Delpy

Stars : Julie Delpy, Adam Goldberg, Daniel Brühl

A New York based couple,  Marion and Jack attempt to re-infuse their relationship with romance by taking a vacation in Europe. Their trip to Venice didn’t really work out. They have higher hopes for Paris. But the combination of Marion’s overbearing non-English speaking parents’,her ex-boyfriends’, and Jack’s obsession with photographing don’t make things easy.

Notes : The characters of Marion’s parents are played by Delpy’s real life parents. Julie Delpy is French, but one of the most American “French Director ” !




11 – The wedding cake (2019) – Comedy-Romance 

(Original title  : Pièce montée)

Piece montee-image.eventnodeDirector : Denys Granier-Deferre

Stars : Clémence Poésy, Danielle Darrieux

Vincent and Bérengère are getting married on a beautiful spring day in the French countryside, in the style of the Haute bourgeoisie. But a chain of events threatens to bring down a family façade which has been cultivated over the past few decades.

Notes : An entertaining and touching film. And the last film of Danielle Darrieux, a wonderful French actress



12 – The women on the 6th floor (2010) – Comedy

(Original title  : Les femmes du 6ème étage)

Director : Philippe Le Guay

Stars : Fabrice Luchini, Sandrine Kiberlain

Les Femmes du 6ème étageParis 1960s. A conservative French couple’s lives are turned upside down by two spanish maids who work in their apartment building. Mr Joubert is an unadventurous stockbroker who befriends  a group of Spanish maids who live on the top floor of his building and live the life of the poor.  Then he discovers that there is a whole other world he never knew existed, . Slowly he recovers his joie de vivre by tasting life ‘s simple pleasures . He becomes increasingly involved with the problems of the Spanish women working improving their lot while causing friction at home.

Notes : A light-hearted and amusing comedy of worlds colliding. It focuses on Jean louis transformation. Fabrice Luchini is terrific




13 – The intouchables (2011) – Comedy-Drama

(Original title  : Les intouchables)

IntouchablesDirector : Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano

Stars : François Cluzet, Omar Sy

After he becomes a quadriplegic from a pargliding accident, an aristocrat hires a young man to be his caregiver

Notes : The second giiggest box office hit in France, The film has received several award nominations i. In France, the film won the César Award for Best actor for Omar Sy. Nominated for a golden Globe. The plot is inspired by the true story of Philoppe Pozzo



14 – Delicacy (2011) – Romantic-Comedy-Drama

(Original title  : La délicatesse)

DelicacyDirector : David Foenkinos and Stéphane Foenkinos 

Stars : Audrey Tautou, François Damien

Music : Emilie Simon ‘Something more”

A romantic comedy about love. Nathalie, a beautiful, happy and successful Parisian business executive woman finds herself suddently widowed… To cope with her loss, she buries herself and her emotions in her work but one day, inexplicably, she meets a seemingly unexceptional, gauche and average looking subordinate, Markus…

Notes : the film is based on “La delicatesse”  a book by David Foenkinos



15 – What’s in a name (2012) – Comedy-Drama

(Original title  : Le Prénom)

What's in a nameDirector : Matthieu Delaporte, Alexandre de la Patellière 

Stars : Patrick Bruel, Valérie Benguigui, Charles Berling… 

Vincent is about to become a father. At a meeting with childhood friends (In an upper-middle-class apartment in Paris), he reveals the name for his future son. Everyone at the dinner is speechless…The situation eventually gets out of hand, when no one can come to an understanding, and everyone starts unearthing old rivalries and unspoken issues.

Notes : Patrick Bruel is a very famous French singer too.




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