The storyline of Juliette Binoche as a vagabond chocolate
maker moving into a repressed French town on the eve of Lent is extremely
original. The cinematography is exquisite, as is Johnny Depp if I do say so
A great film to watch to get in the mood for a trip to
France, or to rekindle memories of great times spent there.
by Claude Berri
OF THE SPRING
by Claude Berri
The two films together form a masterpiece of filmmaking by
Claude Berri. They are among my favorite movies of all time. The actors,
Yves Montand, Gerard Depardieu, Emmanuelle Beart, and Daniel Auteuil to name a
few, are spectacular.
A simple story of the rivalry of two farmers in a rural
village in France over a valuable spring not only transports us to another place
and time, but reveals undeniable truths about human nature.
by Yves Robert
by Yves Robert
These companion films describe the picturesque childhood
of beloved French writer Marcel Pagnol.
The films are both situated in the South of France at the
turn of the century, and the images are breathtaking. The characters are all
lovable and the storylines are full of gentle humour about childhood and the
eye-opening experiences that make us grow up.
My Father's Glory came out just two months after I arrived
in France for the first time and it was the first movie I ever saw over there.
Even though my French was rudimentary at best, I was swept up with the story and
had an amazing cinematic experience. I've watched these films several times
since then, and every time it is a pleasure.
by Jean-Pierre Jeunet
I think this has to be one of the most
charming movies I’ve ever seen. Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Delicatessen),
the film is a visual feast filled to the brim with surreal images and saturated
colour. The storyline is simple but magical, and the film possesses an
unabashedly romantic heart. Amelie (played to impish perfection by newcomer
Audrey Tatou) is a highly imaginative soul who has decided to fill her days by
helping the lonely people around her fix their lives, only to come to the
realization that it is her own lonely existence that needs fixing. Her quest for
her soul-mate; a man who keeps a mysterious album of discarded photo-machine
pictures, is a delightful cat and mouse game that is played out through the
picturesque streets of Montmartre. If you feel like your life could use a dose
of whimsy, treat yourself to this deservedly popular film.
The Amelie soundtrack,
created by musician Yann Tiersen, has been a favorite of ours since we purchased
the CD a few months ago. It’s music – heavily tinged with accordion and piano,
has a gypsy soul. It stands apart from the movie, and is breezy, fresh, and
contemporary while at the same time evoking the timeless charm of Montmartre.
CYRANO DE BERGERAC
by Jean-Paul Rappeneau
Each time Franck and I watch this movie it
seems to get even more brilliant. Director Jean-Paul Rappeneau does a wonderful
job of bringing this classic French story to screen. Casting Gerard Depardieu,
France’s hulking behemoth of acting talent, as the vulnerable Cyrano is a stroke
Depardieu plays the unattractive, large nosed
swordsman to perfection. Tears were streaming down my cheeks as I watched Cyrano
pour his heart out in impassioned love letters to his beloved Roxanne, only to
have her believe they have been written by one of his handsome underlings,
Christian. Cyrano ends up teaching us all a lesson in honour and selfless
love….not to mention panache.
There is also a strong Burgundy connection to
this movie. Many scenes were shot at the Abbaye de Fontenay in Northern
Burgundy, a beautiful old Abbey that is now a classed UNESCO World Heritage
Site. A great place to visit while you are in Burgundy.
by Gérard Oury
This classic movie held the French cinematic
record as the most successful movie for 30 years before finally being knocked
off its pedestal by Titanic.
The storyline is a simple one. It is 1943 and
three Allied parachutists land and turn the lives of Stanislas (Louis de Funes)
and Augustin (Bouvril) upside-down. In order to get rid of these unwanted
houseguests, Stanislas and Augustin must lead them to the Free Zone.
Beaune was right near the border between
occupied and unoccupied France, and features frequently in the film –especially
in the hilarious scene where our heros seek refuge with the nuns of the Hospices
de Beaune. This movie is a point of reference for the French – a must if you
want to bone up on your popular culture ŕ la francaise.
by Patrice Leconte
Admittedly, the opening scene is rather
shocking to some sensibilities, but if you can get past this, Patrice Leconte’s
film about the battle of the wits in the court of Louis XVI is pure delight.
The story centres around the modest nobleman
Ponceludon de Malavoy travels to Versailles with an admirable purpose; he hopes
that he can plead with the King to help him drain the fever-infested swamps of
his homeland. However, once he is there he quickly discovers that in the court
of Louis XVI gravitas is frowned upon, rapier wit is celebrated, and if you stay
long enough, being the subject of ridicule is inevitable. De Malavoy is tutored
in the ways of the Court by a delightfully sentimental and slow-witted Jean
Rochefort, who just happens to have a beguiling daughter Mathilde. Fanny Ardant
plays Madame de Blayac, the world-weary courtesan whose bedroom leads to the ear
of the king. If you liked Dangerous Liaisons, you will love this film.