Here Is the List of the Best French Movies to Stream in 2022
A few titles come to mind immediately when considering the best French films of the twenty-first century, even if recent years have not appeared to be as fertile in terms of creativity as the New Wave period. Beautiful, immediately canonical works have been created by Celine Sciamma, Francois Ozon, Bruno Dumont, and Julia Ducournau, to name just a few.
Considering how broad the concept of “Frenchness” has been in cinema this century, it’s interesting to see Austrian Michael Haneke, Iranian Abbas Kiarostami, and American Julian Schnabel all on the list below, with the main criteria for inclusion, simply being the use of French.
The existence of national cinemas is called into question by their inclusion. Although the world is increasingly interconnected, France is still one of the most important guiding lights in media in the twenty-first century.
It all began with the Lumiere brothers, who paved the way for a new generation of filmmakers, and ended with France hosting the world’s most important film festival each year, as well as a staunch advocate for cinema’s original purpose of bringing people together.
In the twentieth century, no country contributed more to advancing cinema than the United States, and in the twenty-first century, no country has done more to help maintain cinema’s integrity and potential.
9. A Christmas Tale
The films of Arnaud Desplechin have typically understated dramas about characters battling neuroses, troubling memories, and difficult family problems. “A Christmas Tale” is the best example of this ongoing fixation because it is a far-reaching drama that smoothly shifts between a series of mini-stories throughout a messy family dynamic while still maintaining a constant focus.
This makes “A Christmas Tale” the best example of this ongoing fixation. Catherine Deneuve plays the self-assured matriarch who presides over a network of children, grandchildren, and in-laws. Many of these characters flit in and out of the plot as if they were revolving through their own mini-movies in Desplechin’s freewheeling cinematic collage.
Catherine Deneuve plays the confident matriarch. In the end, the movie is not so much about how one particular family deals with an incapacitating illness that casts doubt on their future as it is about how much an extensive network of relatives can actually create more distance within the overall unit.
There is so much going on, and yet there is a clarity to the chaos that resonates on a level that is universal. It is a startling immersion into a sophisticated world that Desplechin juggles with ease.
8. My Golden Days
“My Golden Days” is both a sequel and a prequel to the critically acclaimed film “My Sex Life. or How I Got into an Argument,” which was written and directed by Arnaud Desplechin and released in 1996. The bittersweet drama “My Golden Days” re-teams Arnaud Desplechin with his frequent star Mathieu Amalric, who once again plays the perpetually indecisive academic Paul Dédalus.
In this installment of the Dédalus saga, the middle-aged man looks back on several significant moments from his younger years, musing on the precariousness and transience of some of the relationships that were the most important to him.
As is the case with the vast majority of Desplechin’s fictional films, “My Golden Days” is full of unforgettable scenes that, at first glance, may appear to be unrelated or even arbitrary.
However, by the time the story is over, he has brought everything together into something that is both authentic and eerie, exploring the ways in which pleasant recollections and profound regrets coexist.
7. Tell No One
Harlan Coben is an American author who writes mystery and thriller novels. He is extremely well-known all over the world, and his books have been adapted for both the big and small screen more frequently in Europe than in the United States. The first film adaptation of a Harlan Coben novel was “Tell No One,” directed by Guillaume Canet of France.
The film tells the story of a widowed doctor named Alexandre Beck (Francois Cluzet), who receives a mysterious message that seems to be from his long-dead wife at the same time that the police begin re-investigating the murder of his wife, with Alexandre becoming the new prime suspect.
Canet stages some fantastically gripping action sequences, but for the most part, he and Cluzet ground Coben’s convoluted, page-turning plot in the humanity of its protagonist: a man who seems to draw tragedy to himself, similar to how clouds of insects are drawn to rotting fruit.
Tomboy directed by Céline Sciamma is one of the few truly perfect films of the 21st century. It is a concise and unforgettable look at the purity and confusion of growing up. Importantly, it’s also one of the most honest and compassionate movies we have about gender identity in the modern sense, and that’s a huge selling point.
“Tomboy” is a moving, organic, and remarkably humane narrative about the relationship between sex and gender, as well as the relationship between gender and identity.
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The film only needs 82 minutes to offer this narrative, which stars Zoé Héran as an androgynous-looking kid named Laure who is given a blank slate on which to draw their own identity when their family moves to a new housing block. “Tomboy” stars Zoé Héran. Laure conceals information about their anatomy as though it were a secret, but in doing so, she reveals a lot of truth about how unimportant it really is.
Amélie directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and starring Audrey Tautou, has become a bona fide phenomenon, and for good reason. It is one of the few foreign films that has actually found the audience it deserves in the United States (it even inspired a short-lived Broadway musical).
A second viewing demonstrates that this romantic comedy from 2001 is just as entertaining as it was the first time around, if not more so, which dispels any notion that it was less of an achievement than it might have appeared to be at the time it was released. In fact, it has only gotten better with age.
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“Amélie” is the sweetest and most sure-handed thing that Jeunet has ever created. It is more than just the dazzlingly stylish story of a pixie-like waitress in Montmartre (or the breakthrough role of a lifetime for Audrey Tautou), it is a humane and enduringly relevant portrait of a person who loves people but can’t quite bring herself to join them.
She is the perfect heroine for the age of the internet, which she only just barely anticipated, a woman who gets involved in everyone else’s business while simultaneously living her own life from a safe distance. Her transition from childhood fantasy to adult life is just as rich, heartwarming, and brave as it was before.
4. A Prophet
The French-Algerian Malik (Tahar Rahim in a performance that is nothing short of masterful) is incarcerated as a teenager and comes under the command of the Corsican mafia in this tense prison drama directed by Jacques Audiard, who is perhaps the biggest name in French cinema today.
Jacques Audiard has never been better than with this tense prison drama. This puts him in a precarious position, as he is torn between the allegiance he owes to his Muslim roots and the protection afforded to him by his new enforcers.
The shockingly graphic scene in which Malik is shown murdering a fellow inmate at the direction of his supervisor sets the tone for the subsequent story of Malik’s journey to redemption.
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Throughout the course of the film, Malik gradually comes to terms with his Muslim heritage. Simultaneously, the power dynamic within the prison shifts in a new direction, which results in the main character becoming empowered by faith and community despite the fact that his future is still unknown.
It is a gripping and violent saga about learning to take responsibility when the only other option available is complete hopelessness.
Audiard, who revisited the concept of an oppressed minority fighting back in the acclaimed film “Dheepan,” has such extraordinary confidence in the material that it never drags across the 155-minute running time. Furthermore, as Malik’s worldview continues to expand, we’re with him all the way.
3. Certified Copy
In Abbas Kiarostami’s classy and unpretentious mystery about the performative nature of relationships, Juliette Binoche and William Shimmell go for a talkative, full-length stroll.
The film takes a cubist approach to the plot of “Before Sunset,” as it follows British writer James (Shimmell) and an unnamed French antique dealer (Binoche) on a walk and talk that becomes increasingly tense as the premise begins to emerge that these two strangers might actually know each other and quite intimately either in a past life or in this life.
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Shimmell and Binoche play the roles of James and the unnamed French antique Whether it be on a marriage or a sense of selfhood, there is a sense that time is running out in the tantalizingly ambiguous “Certified Copy,” which swells with a feeling of time running out (much like those “Before” movies). Even in the midst of Kiarostami’s often heady cinematic trickery, Binoche is wonderfully composed and unflappable.
2. Portrait of a Lady on Fire
This period piece is as beautifully sensitive, sincere, and dark as it is timelessly timeless. It is a love story that is visually stunning. Heloise, played by Adéle Haenel, is a reluctant bride-to-be who finds friendship and the beginnings of a budding romance in the artist Marianne, played by Noémie Marant, who is tasked with painting Heloise’s marriage portrait.
Marianne is tasked with painting Heloise’s marriage portrait. The events of “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” take place in the latter half of the 18th century on a remote island in Brittany, where Marianne and Heloise’s love story is developing.
But their love is running out of time because Heloise’s wedding is just around the corner, and the world beyond the walls of their fortified stronghold is hostile and unforgiving. At the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, writer and director Céline Sciamma was awarded both the Queer Palm and the award for Best Screenplay.
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She is the first female director to win either of these prestigious awards. In addition to that, she was the recipient of the award for Best Screenplay during the festival. This low-key but magnificent examination of relationships takes a close look at the textured scars left by a formative romance, all while hurtling toward a final shot that will stop your heart.
1. 35 Shots of Rum
Claire Denis‘ acute insights into the physical world are frequently expressed through the violence of one kind or another the violence of male desire, the violence of colonialism, the violence of memory, etc. “35 Shots of Rum,” despite its focus on bodies, is one of the most heartfelt films ever created.
Iconic French filmmaker Denis captures a heartbreaking portrait of a widower (Alex Descas), his aging daughter (Mati Diop), and their impromptu family of oddball neighbors, in a film that resembles the most sensual film Yasujiro Ozu ever made.
You can literally feel the tension in your muscles as the story unfolds, and it’s told in such a way that you can almost taste the sweetness of the highs and lows that make up our existence. “Nightshift” is one of those things that everyone should see before they die.
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