It’s time yet again for my favorite feature at TDYLF- my annual list of the 50 greatest French films of all-time. One aspect I’m starting to really enjoy about this list is how organic it is. Each year, movies rise and fall thanks to re-watches, exposure to new films, and new insights. Keeping and maintaining this list throughout the year also serves an important function for me. It motivates me to continue learning, and grow as a French film enthusiast. A few notes before we get started:
- I am not an authority on this. I’m just a Francophile with a Blu-ray player, Netflix and Facets subscriptions, and a love of movies.
- As much as I try, I am not a completist. There are a lot of films I simply haven’t seen. I’ve done my best to make it as comprehensive as I could but there’s always room to see more. There are still some relatively glaring omissions. Please feel free to recommend others, as I am always on the lookout to improve this list. It’s a labor of love for me.
- There is obviously a lot of personal preference involved. However, I’ve given a lot of weight to objective aspects like a film’s influence, importance, creativity, and how much they embody the spirit of French cinema and history.
- To qualify, the film has to be a French language film. There are non-French directors on this list but every movie is a French language film.
With that out of the way, I present to you the 50 greatest French films of all-time: Continue reading
The Criterion Collection has been providing film aficionados with top-flight content since 1984. Their mission is a noble one–a “commitment to publishing the defining moments of cinema for a wider and wider audience”. Along the way, they’ve restored and made hundreds of films available; adopted Janus Films; and created the Essential Art House and Eclipse Series divisions. They currently list 820 selections on their website (70 are out of print). The list comprises many of the most important films ever made. Here’s an infographic that breaks down the Criterion Collection: Continue reading
I’m just about to shut everything down until Christmas, and maybe a day or two afterwards. My next entry will likely be no earlier than Monday, and maybe as late as Wednesday of next week. This is my last chance to wish everyone happy holidays. What better way to do it than by twisting depressing movies and movie scenes into something more festive? What’s more festive than a Santa hat? Happy holidays, everyone. Continue reading
Filed under Humor, Movies
Until recently, Louis Malle’s Black Moon (1975) had been hard to find. Thankfully, Criterion released it this summer and I finally found my chance to watch it. It tells the tale of a pubescent girl trapped in a world torn by a literal battle of the sexes. Battalions of men and women are roving the landscape gunning each other down. It’s in this environment that the pubescent Lily escapes to the countryside. Upon discovering an autumnal home, her entire reality melts into a fantasy world. Continue reading
This week will mark Bastille Day. What better time to honor a country that’s given the world of cinema so many incredible films? In terms of both quality and quantity, I’d stack the history of French film up against any on the world scene. To pay proper homage for Bastille Day, I’ve compiled the 50 greatest French films of all-time. A few notes before we get started: Continue reading
It’s time for the third entry in the Iron Director series. In the first edition, the theme was “Directors I became obsessed with in 2010”- Francois Truffaut and Rainer Werner Fassbinder, with Truffaut emerging victorious. In the second edition, I pitted two people that I consider to be the two greatest living American directors, Martin Scorsese and the Coen Brothers. Scorsese just barely earned the win. For this entry, we’ll be taking a look at two guys with the same name, albeit different spellings- Louis Malle and Luis Buñuel. To set the mood, I highly recommend watching this clip of The Kingsmen singing Louie, Louie. These two have always been linked in my head for a handful of reasons. I have an ongoing internal conversation about which of the two is my 2nd favorite director of all-time. I’ve mentioned both of them as my 2nd favorite on multiple occasions. Depending on the week, you’re liable to get a different answer. I’m a great admirer of both of their filmographies. Both have worked, and excelled, in several countries. There aren’t a lot of similarities on the surface, but going a little deeper shows that they’re not wildly different. Let’s dig in: Continue reading
After enjoying a Spaced marathon a few days ago, I remarked to my friend, “That was one of the best purchases I’ve ever made”. And it’s true. I bought the entire series- two seasons of Daisy and Tim and Mike and Marsha and Brian and Twit… er, Twist- less than 12 months ago. I’ve already re-watched it twice. On top of that, I’ll be loaning it to a friend and fellow Edgar Wright fan within the next few months. I look forward to helping someone else turn on and tune in.
Hearing the comment come out of my mouth made me wonder just what exactly inspires me to buy the movies (and TV shows) that I buy? Continue reading
When you see lists of great directors, Louis Malle is often buried towards the bottom or excluded altogether. It flummoxes me every time I see it. It’s not that he’s viewed with any type of ill will. Most critics speak highly of his work. I can’t specify exactly what it is that keeps him from higher praise, but I’m a firm believer that he deserves higher standing. He’s one of my five favorite directors. Here are some aspects of Malle’s work that makes him stand out for me. Continue reading
The Criterion Collection has a very enjoyable series called Top 10s where they invite filmmakers, film critics and theorists, and just good ol’ fashioned celebrities to list their Top 10 from the Criterion Collection. It’s a really unique series because you get great insights into what has influenced these people. For instance, Steve Buscemi lists John Cassavetes’ A Woman Under the Influence at #10, and states:
I have been under the influence of John Cassavetes and Gena Rowlands and their extended family in film ever since I saw a retrospective of Cassavetes’s movies at MoMA soon after he died.
Is it any surprise at all that Steve Buscemi, a stalwart of 90’s indie cinema, would hold such reverence for John Cassavetes, the Godfather of independent cinema? Guy Maddin lists Clement’s Forbidden Games at #1 and Häxan at #10. If you’re familiar at all with Maddin’s films- silent film homages which generally place a magnifying glass on childhood trauma- you realize the imprint that these films had on him. Admittedly, I’ve only seen approximately half of the Criterion Collection, around 250 films or so in their catalogue. Here’s my stab at the Criterion Top 10. Continue reading
EDITOR’S NOTE: I made this list in 2010. I updated the list in 2011. The updated list is more complete and puts far less emphasis on personal preference. The new and improved version can be found here.
On the cusp of Bastille Day, and with such a rich history of French cinema, I felt that it was only fitting to create a list of the 50 best French films. Initially, I’d planned on simply listing them in no particular order. However, mon ami, I eventually determined that it wouldn’t be fair to not put forth the extra effort. They’re now listed at least in order of personal preference, with some weight given to overall quality. In other words, there are likely more influential films or higher quality films further down the list. But their higher quality doesn’t overcome my overall enjoyment of the other films higher up on the list.