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 to wrap up my de facto François Truffaut week, a week where I’ve honored Monday’s birthday boy. I’ve included a big screen review of The Bride Wore Black and waxed poetic about the importance of the man. And all week long, the question has been on the tip of everyone’s tongue–what are my favorite Truffaut films? Here is how I’d rank every Truffaut film I’ve ever seen. There is a bit of personal preference included in the list, but for the most part I’ve tried to stay true to overall quality. Enjoy! Continue reading
Monday was François Truffaut’s birthday, and I feel like I missed an opportunity by not writing about him. To make up for it, I’ve more or less turned this into a de facto Truffaut Week. The fact of the matter is that Truffaut is one of the most influential and important filmmakers in film history. His techniques have been mimicked and recreated for decades since. If you could, imagine for a moment that the entirety of film history is a river. Imagine that the first films ever made are the source, and that the movies being made today are the end of the river emptying into the great unknown that is the sea. In the middle of that river, there’s a gigantic rock that shifts the current of the river. All of the water flowing forth from that spot touches that rock. That rock is the work of François Truffaut. Continue reading
Re-Watchterpiece Theater is a series that explores the organic way that attitudes about films change after you watch them a second time, a third time, or more, further down the line than the original viewing. This week, I’ve chosen François Truffaut’s seminal masterpiece from 1959, The 400 Blows.
The First Viewing
The first time I saw The 400 Blows was early in 2007. I had just started watching foreign films within the last six months, and had completely gone nuts for The Criterion Collection. My friend Ryan, a filmmaker and the most knowledgeable film fan I know, had been recommending Truffaut to me for a few months. With my increasing love of foreign film and natural Francophilia, my tastes and that director seemed like a match made in heaven. Continue reading
As the clichéd saying goes, “Art imitates life”. And thus, since film is a form of art, it also imitates life. And films that imitate life wouldn’t exist if people weren’t populating theaters to watch them… which is a part of life. Naturally, films have featured some really great scenes in movie theaters. Here are some of my favorites.
Taxi Driver (1976)
The unimaginably awkward Travis Bickle scores a date with the beautiful Betsy (Cybill Shepherd) and takes her to the movies. The punchline- the horribly uncomfortable punchline that makes the viewer wince- is that Bickle’s idea of a dream date is taking her to a pornographic film, even despite her protestations upon realizing where he’s taken her. Continue reading
The other day, I found a Sesame Street spoof of Mad Men, and it made my day. Fascinated by the concept, I kept digging and digging and unearthed several more Sesame Street spoofs, many of which came via Alistair Cookie, host of Monsterpiece Theater. Pardon my lack of originality here- none of this is my content, nor am I going to say anything special about any of it. I guess I’m just shocked that Sesame Street has spoofed all of these Hollywood movies and TV shows and felt the need to share.
Best line: “Good work, sycophants”. I can’t wait to hear my 3 year old nephew drop “sycophants” on me.
When you’re a hardcore film nerd, you spend too much of your time trying to spackle in the cracks in your film knowledge. My friend Marty, for instance, is currently obsessively trying to knock out the entire Criterion Collection. It’s a noble goal- Criterion makes some amazing movies. But we’re talking about some 550 or 600 movies that they’ve released. To date, he’s somewhere in the 400’s. My recent obsession has been the films of two art house titans- Francois Truffaut and Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Continue reading