The French Kissers
With his first feature film Les Beaux Gosses (an ironic title roughly translating as "The Handsome Boys"), French comic book artist Riad Sattouf gave us one of the best surprises of 2010, by taking us back in time to explore that difficult time of life: teenagehood. French school student, Hervé, and his heavy metal fanatic best friend try to make sense of adolescence as they deal with the opposite sex, uncooperative parents and rebellious hormones. The struggle to get through the day without a public gaffe only gets trickier for Hervé when he finds himself with an actual girlfriend, Aurore. You will find yourself in fits of laughter at Hervé misadventures, which include some of the un-sexiest French kisses of all time.
Read My Lips
Acclaimed French director Jacques Audiard's (The Beat That My Heart Skipped, Rust and Bone) third feature film is about the improbable love story between two people relegated to the margins of society, but who find themselves empowered by each other. Carla is 35 and bored of her life, but her deafness prevents her from finding better paid work. When handsome ex-con Paul comes to work with her, she finds an outlet for her particular set of skills. Both Vincent Cassel and Emmanuelle Devos are impeccable in this gritty romance, which won three César Awards and was nominated for six more.
Shall We Kiss?
This oh-so-French romantic comedy by Emmanuel Mouret (The Art of Love) begins with two strangers, Emilie and Gabriel, who meet by chance in Nantes and find themselves attracted to each other, even though they both are involved in relationships. When Gabriel asks Emilie for a kiss goodnight after a dinner together, she refuses, explaining that a single kiss can alter a life. You can feel Mouret's unapologetic love for Woody Allen in this comedy, in which he also stars alongside actress Julie Gayet (who might be best known these days for the revelation last year of her secret rendez-vous with French President Hollande. Aaah the French!)
Paris Je t'aime
This delightful love letter to Paris consists in a series of five minute stories from 20 internationally-renowned filmmakers and illustrates the various styles, genres, encounters and lifestyles of Paris' arrondissements. Directed by a pleiad of filmmakers including Wes Craven, Gus Van Sant, Ethan and Joel Coen, it stars Natalie Portman, Steve Buscemi, Maggie Gyllenhaal and French actors Juliette Binoche, Gérard Depardieu, Fanny Ardant, Gaspard Ulliel... the list goes on. A real treat that will inspire you to hop on the first flight to the City of Lights.
The Lovers on the Pont-Neuf
Following a failed relationship, and suffering from a disease which is slowly destroying her sight, young painter Michèle is driven to a life on the streets. While sleeping rough on the Pont Neuf, Paris's oldest bridge, she meets another young vagrant Alex, a street performer addicted to alcohol and sedatives, 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.
Joyeux 14 juillet!
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