Absurd slapstick French New Wave comedy with loads of visual and lingual trickery. Louis Malle adapts Raymond Queneau's popular novel. Malle: "a critique of the language of cinema...  with lots of parody and pastiche." Cool because it's Paris: 1960.
Official Site: http://www.criterion.com/films/27626-zazie-dans-le-metro
 
 
Funny French social comedy starring Catherine Deneuve, Gérard Depardieu, and directed by (Swimming Pool) François Ozon. Set in the late '70s. Sweet.

Official Site: http://potichemovie.com/
 

RUBBER

6/15/2011

 
Don't bother unless you're really into tires, and things (like human heads) blowing up.

Official Site: http://www.rubberthemovie.com/
Netflix: http://movies.netflix.com/Movie/Rubber/70142800?trkid=496624#height1544
 
 
Jean Renoir's french poetic realism "film noir" about love, madness and locomotives adapted from Émile Zola's novel. Tragic. Suspenseful. Magnificent trains. Don't be put-off by the opening title roll-up: this is a master work!

Official Site: http://www.criterion.com/films/773-la-bete-humaine
Netflix: http://movies.netflix.com/Movie/La_Bete_Humaine/70012503?trkid=496624#height1933
 

THE ILLUSIONIST

5/10/2011

 
Jacques Tati's screenplay is adapted and directed by The Triplets of Bellville creator and the result is a beautifully crafted yet emotionally distant film. A lovely work of art. It's refreshing to watch a film without dialogue or close-ups, true to Tati in style, and only 80 minutes long.

Official site: http://www.sonyclassics.com/theillusionist/
Netflix: http://movies.netflix.com/Movie/The_Illusionist/70134430?trkid=496624#height2570
 

LA HAINE

5/8/2011

 
La Haine, or in English, Hate, is the most Hollywood style French film about French culture that I've ever seen. Vincent Cassel establishes himself in his film debut as a BadAssMofo. The film is technically strong, the characters engrossing, but the overall theme is so brutally bleak, it's hard to take... Spike Lee & Martin Scorsese fans will enjoy.

Official Site: http://www.criterion.com/films/216-la-haine
Netflix: http://movies.netflix.com/Movie/La_Haine/70007071?trkid=496624#height2187
 

WHITE MATERIAL

4/14/2011

 
If you need all the facts and back story spelled out for you, and/or if you don't enjoy close-ups of the sides and backs of people's heads, and/or an ambiguous ending, then skip this one. If you like a story to be set in Africa, know some of the characters fate in the beginning, and appreciate a story unfolding without much structure or logic then you might value White Material.
Fine performance by Isabelle Huppert, and it's nice to see Christopher Lambert.

Netflix: http://movies.netflix.com/Movie/White_Material/70125545?trkid=496624#height2080
Official Site: http://www.ifcfilms.com/uncategorized/white-material
 
 
Vincent Cassel is outstanding in this engaging French crime saga. The direction is okay except for the clunky action scenes. Cassel is mesmerizing!  And it looks cool too 'cause it's French, and set in the 1950s through 1979. Gangster film lovers: you will enjoy this one.
See MESRINE: PART ONE: KILLER INSTINCT first.

Netflix:http://movies.netflix.com/Movie/Mesrine-Part-2-Public-Enemy-1/70117925?trkid=1660#height1881
Official site: http://www.mesrinemovie.com/
 

KINGS OF PASTRY

3/9/2011

 
Contrary to the Netflix description, there are no temper tantruming chefs in this film. If you love french pastries, or appreciate pretty cakes and candy ribbons, this is the documentary for you. The score is occasionally annoying, but overall a short (84 min.) and enjoyable film.

Netflix: http://movies.netflix.com/Movie/Kings_of_Pastry/70132743?trkid=496624#height1431
Official Site: http://kingsofpastry.com/