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. […]

Manish Dayal and Helen Mirren in 'The Hundred-Foot Journey,' directed by Lasse Hallstrom

‘The Hundred-Foot Journey’ on Netflix

The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014) is a film for our culture: a feel-good foodie drama of racial tolerance, cross-cultural acceptance, and fusion cuisine. It’s produced by Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey and directed by Lasse Hallstrom (the classiest of contemporary feel-good filmmakers) and it stars Helen Mirren as the bastion of fine French cuisine and unshakable […]

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 […]

François Civil, Pio Marmaï, and Ana Girardot in the film by Cedric Klapisch

‘Back to Burgundy’ – A year in wine country on Amazon Prime Video

Back to Burgundy (France, 2017), the sweet and sentimental drama by French filmmaker Cédric Klapisch, is in many ways a gorgeous travelogue of the winemaking life through the seasons of a family vineyard set against the gentle melodrama of three siblings who inherit their father’s legacy along with a big inheritance bill. Jean (Pio Marmaï), […]

François Leterrier in the 1956 Robert Bresson film

‘A Man Escaped’ – Robert Bresson’s prison break on FilmStruck

“This story is true. I give it as it is, without embellishment.” That’s an understatement of an opening remark. A Man Escaped (France, 1956) is a mesmerizing meeting of opposites: a prison escape thriller directed by the austere, introspective Robert Bresson. Based on the memoir by Andre Devigny, a member of the French Resistance imprisoned […]

Sylvain Chomet's animated film of a Jacques Tati script

‘The Illusionist’ on Amazon Prime Video

With The Illusionist (France, 2010), animator Sylvain Chomet (of the delirious The Triplets of Belleville) transforms an unproduced script by they great French auteur Jacques Tati (Mon Oncle) into a tender tale of a French magician and a Scottish girl in the theater-folk society of London as the old world of stage performance gives way […]

Jean-Pierre Melville directs the French Resistance classic starring Lino Ventura and Simone Signoret

‘Army of Shadows’ – Jean-Pierre Melville’s French Resistance on FilmStruck

Legendary gangster movie director Jean-Pierre Melville turned his familiar crime film iconography on its head with Army of Shadows (France, 1969), his gravely personal drama about the early days of the French Resistance in World War II. Gangster movie icon Lino Ventura plays Resistance leader Philippe Gerbier with an observant stillness and coiled calm different […]

Marion Cotillard and Mathieu Amalric in the French drama by Arnaud Desplechin

‘Ismael’s Ghosts’ – Life, art, and love on Hulu

French filmmaker Arnaud Desplechin makes films about the messiness of families, lovers, and creative lives that can become quite messy in their telling. Ismael’s Ghosts (France, 2018) jumps abruptly back and forth in time and between biography and fiction and dreams, smudging the line between biography, fiction, and artistic imagination. Desplechin regular Mathieu Amalric is […]