Can’t get enough of the Alliance Française French Film Festival? Curate your own festival at home with these must-see French movies streaming at SBS On Demand.
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SBS Movies

16 Mar 2017 - 3:47 PM  UPDATED 20 Mar 2017 - 12:58 PM

The Lovers on the Bridge

MA15+
France, 1991
Genre: Drama, Romance
Language: French
Director: Leos Carax
Starring: Juliette Binoche, Denis Lavant, Klaus-Michael Grüber
What's it about?
Following a failed relationship, and suffering from a degenerative eye disease, young painter Michèle is driven to a life on the streets. While sleeping rough on the Pont Neuf, Paris's oldest bridge, she meets Alex, a down-and-out street performer, and the two embark into a passionate and destructive love story. Director Leos Carax (Holy Motors) gives French icon Juliette Binoche (his then-partner) and his key actor Denis Lavant roles of a lifetime in this stunning "amour fou" story, now considered a classic.

Watch The Movie Show's original review

 

The Science of Sleep

M
France, 2006
Genre: Fantasy
Language: French, English
Director: Michel Gondry
Starring: Alain Chabat, Gael García Bernal, Charlotte Gainsbourg
What's it about?
French director Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) gives once more free reign to his imagination with this delightful movie starring Gael García Bernal as Stephane, an illustrator moves back to Paris for a new job and to live in his mother's apartment. There, he experiences strange and intense dreams, including one relating to his one man show, Stephane TV. His dreaming meddles with his life and creates confusion for the new woman (Charlotte Gainsbourg) in his life.

The Science of Sleep Review

 

Le Havre

PG
France, Germany, 2010
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Language: Finnish, French
Director: Aki Kaurismaki
Starring: Jean-Pierre Darroussin, André Wilms, Kati Outinen
What's it about?
Eccentric Danish filmmaker Aki Kaurismäki (The Man without a Past) explores the issues of immigration, solidarity and friendship in this humanist fable set in modern-day France. It follows Marcel Marx (André Wilms), a former author and a well-known Bohemian, who has retreated into a voluntary exile in the port city of Le Havre. When fate suddenly throws in his path a young African refugee who arrived hidden in a cargo ship, he decides to reunite him with his family in England, with the help of his neighbours.

Le Havre: Aki Kaurismaki interview
Le Havre Review

 

The City of Lost Children

M
France, 1995
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Fantasy
Language: French
Director: Marc Caro, Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Starring: Ron Perlman, Judith Vittet, Jean-Claude Dreyfus
What's it about?
With this follow-up to the black humour gem Delicatessen, Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amelie) and Marc Caro transport us to a dark and nightmarish universe where cynical adults long for the innocence of childhood. In a derelict port, a joyless genius has children abducted so their dreams can be harvested. It's left to the local circus strongman and an unusually mature street-kid to rescue their friends. Caro and Jeunet deliver another visually stunning film, with great performances from its young (and less young) cast, that will stay with you for a long time. (Look out for the extravagant costumes by iconic fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier.)

Watch The Movie Show's original review
Watch Cannes interview with Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Watch interview with Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Ron Perlman

 

Hunting and Gathering

M
France, 2007
Genre: Romance
Language: French
Director: Claude Berri
Starring: Audrey Tautou, Guillaume Canet, Francoise Bertin
What's it about?
Starring two of France's biggest stars, Audrey Tautou and Guillaume Canet, this charming feelgood movie directed by Claude Berri (Jean de Florette) and based on Anna Gavalda's best-seller, follows a collection of misfits in Paris. Young artist Camille (Tautou) works as an office cleaner and lives in the attic of a Parisian apartment. Philibert is an aristocratic history buff living in an apartment lower down with his flatmate Frank, a gruff young chef (Canet). When Camille falls ill, Philibert insists she stay with them so he can look after her, despite Frank being less than impressed. 

Watch The Movie Show's original review

 

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Nathalie

MA15+
France, 2003
Genre: Drama
Language: French
Director: Anne Fontaine
Starring: Fanny Ardant, Emmanuelle Béart, Gérard Depardieu
What's it about?
Gérard Depardieu and Fanny Ardant (Colonel Chabert) reunite in this smart and seductive movie by Anne Fontaine (Gemma Bovery) as a seemingly happy bourgeois couple. But when Catherine discovers that Bernard has cheated on her, she tries to find out why by hiring a prostitute, Nathalie (Emmanuelle Béart, Manon des Sources, Hell) to seduce him, and report back to her about their trysts. Over the course of their meetings, an ambiguous relationship forms between the two women.

Watch The Movie Show's original review

 

The Beat That My Heart Skipped

M
France, 2005
Genre: Drama
Language: French
Director: Jacques Audiard
Starring: Niels Arestrup, Romain Duris, Emmanuelle Devos
What's it about?
Better known for romcoms such as The Heartbreaker and Chinese Puzzle, French star Romain Duris shows his dramatic range in this dark and adrenaline-fuelled drama directed by Jacques Audiard (A Prophet). He's brooding and intense as Tom, the son of a thug (the always formidable Niels Arestrup), who made his money from dirty, brutal, real estate deals. But Tom has innate musical talent and is torn between dreams of being a concert pianist and the reality of life as a ruthless debt collector.

Why You Should Watch: The Beat That My Heart Skipped
Watch The Movie Show's original review

 

Tomboy

G
France, 2011
Genre: Drama
Language: French
Director: Celine Sciamma
Starring: Jeanne Disson, Zoé Héran, Sophie Cattani, Mathieu Demy
What's it about?
In this acclaimed drama from Girlhood director Celine Sciamma, ten-year-old Laure moves to a new apartment with her parents and younger sister. Cropped hair and masculine clothing are already the norm for Laure, so when new neighbour Lisa accidentally mistakes her for a boy, she takes the opportunity to live out a new persona. As Mikaël, Laure has a confidence that eludes her as a girl and she is soon adopted and admired by Lisa and the local youngsters. A gentle, humorously played film about the exploration of gender identity.

Tomboy Review

 

Summer Hours

M
France, 2009
Genre: Drama
Language: French
Director: Olivier Assayas
Starring: Charles Berling, Jérémie Rénier, Juliette Binoche
What's it about?
In this beautifully nuanced film from acclaimed director Olivier Assayas (Clouds of Sils Maria, Personal Shopper), two brothers and a sister (Juliette Binoche, The Lovers on the Pont-Neuf) witness the disappearance of their childhood memories when they must relinquish their family belongings to ensure their deceased mother's succession. As the treasured heirlooms of a romantic family past drift away, the siblings must confront the value of their memories.

Summer Hours Review

 

The Red Balloon

G
France, 1956
Genre: Classic
Language: French
Director: Albert Lamorisse
Starring: Pascal Lamorisse, Georges Sellier, Sabine Lamorisse
What's it about?
In this deceptively simple, nearly wordless tale, a young boy discovers a stray balloon, which seems to have a mind of its own, on the streets of Paris. The two become inseparable, yet the world’s harsh realities finally interfere. With its glorious palette and allegorical purity, this 1957 Oscar-winning classic short has enchanted generations of movie lovers.

SBS On Demand: The Oscar collection

 

Browse more French movies at SBS On Demand

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