When the lights go down and the lycra comes off, France shows off its sinful side. Now streaming at SBS On Demand.
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SBS Movies

30 Jun 2017 - 11:20 AM  UPDATED 30 Jun 2017 - 11:20 AM

 

Water Drops on Burning Rocks

MA15+
France, 2000
Genre: Drama, Romance
Language: German, French
Director: François Ozon
Starring: Bernard Giraudeau, Malik Zidi, Ludivine Sagnier, Anna Thomson
What's it about? Francois Ozon knows how to do romantic intrigue and steamy comedy drama. This one's set in '70s Germany and centres around a smug, still-hunky 50-year-old businessman's new conquest, fresh-faced, carrot-topped 19-year old Franz. Their cosy relationship soon sours as Leopold starts to tire of Franz, and the arrival of both the latter's girlfriend, and the former's ex, make things funnier, steamier and a lot more complicated. 

Cold Showers

MA15+, 2005
Genre: Drama
Language: French
Director: Antony Cordier
Starring: Claire Nebout, Jean-Philippe Écoffey, Florence Thomassin, Pierre Perrier, Salomé Stévenin, Johan Libéreau
What's it about?
Cold Showers takes a darly funny look at adolescence, and the impact of sex, luck and catastrophe upon two judo rivals and on the beautiful girl that binds them. Mickael (Johan Libérau) and Clément (Pierre Perrier) hail from opposite ends of the economic divide, but their backgrounds count for little when squaring off against each other on the mat. Amid the pressure of an upcoming tournament, Clément gains new insight into Mickael's world, and he becomes a fixture in Mickael's relationship with Vanessa (Salomé Stévenin).

Lila Says

MA15+, 2004
Genre: Drama
Language: French
Director: Ziad Doueiri
Starring: Mohammed Khouas, Vahina Giocante
What's it about?
Chimo, a boy of Arabic descent, lives in a modest flat with his mother in Marseilles. His former French teacher believes he has a talent for writing and suggests he apply to a school for gifted writers in Paris. Chimo refuses, content to hang around with his three good-for-nothing friends. Then he meets 16-year-old Lila, a blonde with the face of an angel and a penchant for explicitly discussing sex in public places, which puts her at odds with the majority of the Muslim community.

Gigola

MA15+, 2010
Genre: Drama
Language: French
Director: Laure Charpentier
Starring:  Rossy de Palma, Lou Doillon, Marisa Berenson, Marie Kremer, Arly Jover, Eduardo Noriega, Thierry Lhermitte, Marisa Paredes
What's it about?
George (Lou Doillon) is a charismatic young woman who, after the death of her older female lover, causes a sensation in the Paris nightlife of the '60s as Gigola, a cross-dressing Gigolo exclusively for women. An impressive Dandy, Gigola fast collects clients and cash, drawing her ever closer to a world of crime and corruption.

House of Pleasures

2014
Genre: Drama
Language: French
Director: Bertrand Bonello
Starring: Hafsia Herzi, Céline Sallette, Jasmine Trinca
What's it about?
Set in a decadent 1900s Parisian brothel in its dying days, Bertrand Bonello's House of Pleasures depicts the lives of a group of impeccably attired sex workers. Sharing an infectious camaraderie that helps to mitigate the boredom of going through the motions with their clients, the girls nonetheless are confronted with at times horrific violence and exposure to life-threatening diseases. Though there is glamour on show, Bonello does not glamourise this world. (SR)

Nathalie

MA15+, 2003
Genre: Drama
Language: French
Director: Anne Fontaine
Starring: Fanny Ardant, Emmanuelle Beart, Gérard Depardieu
What's it about?
Gérard Depardieu and Fanny Ardant (Colonel Chabert) reunite in this smart and seductive movie by Anne Fontaine 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) 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.

Nathalie review: Fanny Ardant will draw you in

The Ring Finger

MA15+, 2005
Genre: Drama
Language: French
Director: Diane Bertrand
Starring: Stipe Erceg, Marc Barbé, Olga Kurylenko
What's it about? 
Olga Kurylenko stars in this strange erotic period piece about loss, denial, and unconventional workplace rituals. 20-year old Iris loses the tip of her finger in a soft drink bottling accident and finds new employment as a lab assistant for an eccentric scientist who preserves his client's personal possessions. In her new strange, silent workplace, Iris submits to the gaze and sexual peccadilloes of her enigmatic boss. 

The Princess of Montpensier

M, 2010
Genre: Drama, History
Language: French
Director: Bertrand Tavernier
Starring: Raphaël Personnaz, Melanie Thierry, Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet, Lambert Wilson, Gaspard Ulliel
What's it about?
This swashbuckling romance directed by French veteran filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier (The French Minister) contrasts the violence of the 16th Century religious wars, with masculine pride in intimate relationships. A beautiful young aristocrat is pursued by four suitors even as she is negotiated into an arranged marriage by her father. Features a complex performance by Melanie Thierry as the 'princess' of the title.

The Princess of Montpensier Review

Backstage

MA15+, 2005
Genre: Drama, Music
Language: French
Director: Emmanuelle Bercot
Starring: Valery Zeitoun, Isild Le Besco, Noemie Lvovsky, Emmanuelle Seigner
What's it about?
An adolescent groupie (Isild Le Besco) zeroes in on her Blondie-like idol (Emmanuelle Seigner) after a chance encounter. Gradually and intensely, their lives intertwine as they develop an emotional dependency.

Looking for Cheyenne

M
France, 2005
Genre: Drama, Romance
Language: French
Director: Valérie Minetto
Starring: Aurélia Petit, Mila Dekker, Malik Zidi
What's it about?
Recently separated couple Sonia (Aurélia Petit) and Cheyenne (Mila Dekker) are still deeply in love, Sonia, a teacher, is content with her urban lifestyle while Cheyenne has gone in search of a lifestyle living off the land. After a few dead-end flings Sonia goes in search of Cheyenne who she can’t manage to forget. However when Sonia arrives at Cheyenne’s, both women struggle to reach a compromise despite their burning desire to be together.

Happy Few

MA15+, 2010
Genre: Romance
Language: French
Director: Antony Cordier
Starring: Marina Foïs, Nicolas Duvauchelle, Roschdy Zem, Élodie Bouchez
What's it about?
The alternate title of this movie is 'Four Lovers' and explores a partner-swapping situation between two new couples. Sparks fly between Rachel (Marina Foïs) and Vincent (Nicolas Duvauchelle), and she organises a dinner with their respective spouses, Franck (Roschdy Zem) and Teri (Élodie Bouchez). The two couples barely have time to become friends before they've all fallen in love. They keep their new arrangement secret from their kids but find themselves overwhelmed by the excitement of their elicit affair/s.

Betty Blue

MA15+, 1986
Genre: Drama, Romance
Language: French
Director: Jean-Jacques Beineix
Starring: Béatrice Dalle, Gérard Darmon, Jean-Hugues Anglade 
What's it about?
We've got the Director's Cut of this quintessential '80s French movie, which stars Béatrice Dalle as the vulnerable vixen of the title. The free spirit finds a soulmate in Zorg, a repairman moonlighting as a writer. Their sexual exploits escalate their passion and Betty's aggressive support of Zorg's art tips into obsession. 

Quintessential French movie 'Betty Blue' is back at SBS On Demand

Lady Chatterley

M, 2006
Genre: Drama
Language: French
Director: Pascale Ferran
Starring: Marina Hands, Jean-Louis Coullo'ch, Hippolyte Girardot 
What's it about?
Leave it to the French to handle the infamous story of adultery and scandal in the estate of buttoned-up society queen, Lady Constance Chatterley, and the hunky gardener who awakens her latent desire. 

Lady Chatterley Review

The Apartment

1996
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Romance
Language: French, Japanese, English
Director: Gilles Mimouni
Starring: Romane Bohringer, Vincent Cassel, Monica Bellucci, Sandrine Kiberlain, Jean-Philippe Ecoffey, Olivier Granier, Paul Pavel, Nelly Alard, Bruno Leonelli, Tateo Isaizaki
What's it about?
Vincent Cassell is a regular in psychosexual dramas, perhaps most memorably in writer/director Gilles Mimouni’s erotically charged debut feature L'Appartement.  Cassell plays Max who, after a fleeting vision of former lover Lisa, played by the incomparable Monica Belluci, abandons his poor fiancé (Sandrine Kiberlain), hoping to reignite youthful desire. (SR)