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
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
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
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.