Catherine Deneuve stars in the bittersweet musical from Jacques Demy

‘Umbrellas’ and ‘Young Girls’ – the essential Jacques Demy on Kanopy

Jacques Demy, the most romantic of the French nouvelle vague filmmakers, loved American movies, especially musicals, but his taste for American musicals and candy-colored romance was balanced with a bittersweet sensibility. For all the energizing music and dreamy love affairs, his romances more often than not don’t really get happy endings. Kanopy presents these essentials. […]

Léa Seydoux and Vincent Cassel star in Christophe Gans's lavish French version of the fairy tale.

A lavish French ‘Beauty and the Beast’ on Amazon Prime Video

Beauty and the Beast (France, 2014) – No, not the new Disney live-action musical but a lush French version of the classic fairy tale starring Léa Seydoux (Blue is the Warmest Color) as Belle and Vincent Cassel as the hirsute Beast. Belle is the youngest and sunniest child of a prosperous merchant (André Dussollier) . […]

‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ – Guillermo del Toro’s dark fairy tale on Netflix

Pan’s Labyrinth (Spain, 2006), Guillermo del Toro’s dark fairy tale, is an elemental Alice in Wonderland amidst the horrors of Francisco Franco’s reign of terror in 1944 Spain. Our Alice is an imaginative young girl named Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) who escapes into an elemental wonderland after she moves into the country estate with her ailing […]

František Vláčil directs this epic from Czechoslovakia

‘Marketa Lazarova’ – Czech epic on Kanopy

Marketa Lazarova (Czechoslovakia, 1967), an epic based on one of the revered masterpieces of Czech literature (considered unfilmmable by many), was voted the greatest Czech film ever made in a 1998 poll of Czechoslovakian film critics and professionals. Yet it is all but unknown in the U.S., rarely revived and never on home video before […]

Margit Carstensen stars in the film by Rainer Werner Fassbinder

RW Fassbinder’s ‘The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant’ on Amazon Prime Video

Rainer Werner Fassbinder adapted his own stage play for The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (Germany, 1972), a modern twist on The Women, the great all-woman Hollywood classic of sex and social conventions in high society. Margit Carstensen is successful fashion designer Petra von Kant, who lives alone in her stark apartment with Marlene […]

Matthias Schoenaerts stars in Alice Winocour's psychological thriller from France

‘Disorder’ on Hulu

Alice Winocour’s psychological thriller Disorder (France, 2015) stars Matthias Schoenaerts as Vincent, a French Special Forces soldier recovering from hearing loss and suffering from PTSD from his service in Afghanistan. While he awaits the medical verdict, he takes a security job for a Lebanese businessman throwing a lavish party filled with wealthy businessmen and government […]

Jean Daste and Dita Parlo in Jean Vigo's 'L'Atalante'

‘L’Atalante’ – Poetry on the water on VOD and Criterion Blu-ray/DVD

L’Atalante (France, 1934), the sole feature from French filmmaker Jean Vigo, is a vision of everyday poetry. The romantic story of a young couple (Jean Daste and Dita Parlo) who marry and move onto a cramped barge that drifts through the canals of France is a simple tale, as much a visual song as a […]

Jesuthasan Antonythasan and Claudine Vinasithamby in Jacques Audiard's award winning drama

‘Dheepan’ – Winner of the Palme d’Or on Hulu

Winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes 2016 and nominated for nine Cesar awards, Jacques Audiard’s Dheepan (France, 2015) is a moving drama of alienation, assimilation, and survival. A guerilla soldier (Jesuthasan Antonythasan, a non-actor and former child soldier) in the brutal Tamil Tigers in the dying days of Sri Lanka’s civil war, burns his […]