Sunday, February 17, 2008

Joe's Top 5's - French Movies (other than Breathless)

#1. Rules of the Game (La regle du jeu)Jean Renoir shows just how to live up to your famous name… Make your own undeniable work of art. Everything that Altman attempts to do, and fails to accomplish, in Gosford Park, Renoir perfects. Everyone is the star of the ensemble drama that sets the bar. Renoir even turns in a comic performance that steals the show.

#2. Contempt (Le mepris)Godard. Bardot. ‘Nuff said. Except that it also has Jack Palance as what can only be described as the George W. Bush of movie producers. Or is that redundant? And Fritz Lang playing Fritz Lang. Oh, yeah, did I mention Brigitte Bardot?

#3. Children of Paradise (Les enfants du paradis)Marcel Carne directs the French Gone With the Wind. Although it’s in two parts, be prepared to scramble to put the second part in your DVD player as soon as the first ends. This movie was not filmed in black and white. It’s filmed in black and silver. And it was shot during the German occupation during World War II, literally underground. Remember this when watching the scenes with hundreds of extras. You will never notice that some of them are wearing paper costumes.

#4. Happiness (Le bonheur)Agnes Varda changed the way film was processed in this movie. It’s almost like watching a movie filmed on stained glass. The family in the film is played by an actual real-life family. Oh, yeah and the plot’s not too shabby either.

#5. Girl on the Bridge (La fille sur le pont)Vanessa Paradis. There’s a reason Johnny Depp lives in France. And it’s not the fries. Filmed in black and white, this fantastic story of two kindred souls finding the truth in themselves while surviving the world of traveling circus knife throwers.

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