Can't wait until the Alliance Francaise French Film Festival? Curate your own festival at home with these must-see French movies streaming at SBS On Demand.
Staff writers

12 Feb 2018 - 3:32 PM  UPDATED 12 Feb 2018 - 3:32 PM

What's in a Name?

Genre: Comedy
Language: French
Director: Matthieu Delaporte
Starring: Alexandre de la Patellière, Matthieu Delaporte, Patrick Bruel, Valérie Benguigui, Charles Berling
What's it about?
A polite dinner party erupts into chaos when two expectant parents disclose the name of their unborn son, with their closest friends and family. The name is highly provocative and sure enough, their choice provokes uproar amongst the group: shocking secrets are revealed; couscous is hurled; and someone is accused of adultery. 

Paris, Je T'aime

France, 2006
Genre: Romance
Language: French, English
Directors: Olivier Assayas, Wes Craven, Gus van Sant, Joel and Ethan Coen
Starring: Elijah Wood, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Natalie Portman, Juliette Binoche
What's it about?
The vibrant neighbourhoods of Paris are alive with love in this portmanteau from 20 internationally-renowned filmmakers. Directed by a pleiad of filmmakers including Wes Craven, the Coen brothers and Gus Van Sant, and stars Natalie Portman, Steve Buscemi and Maggie Gyllenhaal.

Paris, je t'aime Review

Au Petit Marguery

PG, 1995
Genre: Romance, Drama, Comedy
Language: French
Director: Laurent Benegui
Starring: Thomas Chabrol, Marie Bunel, Alain Beigel, Michel Aumont, Stéphane Audran
What's it about?
Hippolyte, the chef at the small Paris restaurant of the title, is facing a crisis when she discovers that she is losing his sense of smell. How can one cook - in France, of all places - if one cannot smell? Vowing to close her doors, Hippolyte calls friends and relatives to one final dinner, and the event blends melancholy, joy, and soul-enriching nostalgia. 


Wild Reeds

France, 1994
Genre: Drama, Romance, Foreign
Language: French
Director: Andre Techine
Starring: Gaël Morel, Élodie Bouchez, Stéphane Rideau, Frédéric Gorny, Jacques Nolot, Eric Kreikenmayer, Nathalie Vignes, Michèle Moretti, Michel Ruhl
What's it about?
At a boarding school in the south of France, timid student Francois (Gaël Morel) discovers his latent homosexuality when he enters into an erotic relationship with farm boy Serge (Jacques Nolot). A bizarre love triangle soon forms between Francois, his best friend Maetie (Élodie Bouchez) and Serge while the French Algerian war rages in the background, paralleling the tumult of self-discovery that comes at the crossroads between youth and adulthood..

Wild Reeds review


Genre: Drama
Language: French
Director: Alice Winocour
Starring: Olivier Rabourdin, Chiara Mastroianni, Vincent Lindon, Soko
What's it about?
Paris,1885. Professor Charcot (Vincent Lindon) is studying a baffling disease, hysteria. His favourite patient is 19-year-old Augustine (Soko), the star of his hypnosis demonstrations. Yet the focus of his studies soon becomes the object of his desire.

Watch interview with Soko and Alice Winocour

Beautiful Lies

France, 2000
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Language: French
Director: Pierre Salvadori
Starring: Audrey Tautou, Nathalie Baye, Sami Bouajila
What's it about?
Even Audrey Tautou’s best laid plans can go awry: in Pierre Salvadori’s charming romp hairdresser Emilie (Amelie star Tautou) decides to motivate her single mother, Maddy (Nathalie Baye), by copying out the anonymous love letter she previously received from her love-struck handyman, Jean (Sami Bouajila). The scheme works too well, with the suddenly excited Maddy pursuing Jean in a way that no-one wants to see from their mother. From William Shakespeare to Jane Austen, matchmaking has been a recipe for comic disaster, and Salvadori finds a delicious level of exasperation in Tautou’s meddling daughter.

Beautiful Lies Review


Place Vendome

France, 1998
Genre: Crime, Drama
Language: English, French
Director: Nicole Garcia
Starring: Catherine Deneuve, Jean-Pierre Bacri, Emmanuelle Seigner, Jacques Dutronc
What's it about?
Catherine Deneuve was a deserved best actress prizewinner in Venice for her portrayal of a widow who assumes control of her late husband's prestigious jewel brokerage. 

The City of Lost Children

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?
A classic, mischevious fantasy about On a mist-shrouded rig in the sea, beyond an old minefield, Krank ages prematurely because he lacks one vital function: the ability to dream. And so he kidnaps children from the harbour town, to steal their happy dreams from them..

The City of Lost Children Review

Rust and Bone

France, 2012
Genre: Drama
Language: French
Director: Jacques Audiard
Starring: Jean-Michel Correia, Mourad Frarema, Corinne Masiero, Matthias Schoenaerts, Bouli Lanners, Céline Sallette, Marion Cotillard
What's it about?
A gripping romance/drama about love, loss and a life-altering accident. Marion Cotillard is a whale trainer at a sea-themed tourist attraction on the French riviera, whose life is turned upside down by a freak accident. In her struggle to get her life back on track, she meets a street fighter and together they try to heal their own wounds.  

House of Pleasures

Genre: Drama
Language: French
Director: Bertrand Bonello
Starring: Hafsia Herzi, Céline Sallette, Jasmine Trinca
What's it about?
This film follows the lives of a group of prostitutes living in a luxurious Parisian brothel in the dawn of the 20th century. From pregnancy scares, to marriage proposals, to drug use and violent clients, this film explore the drama of this hidden world.


Canada, 2000
Genre: Drama, Romance
Language: French
Director: Xavier Dolan
Starring: Xavier Dolan, Niels Schneider, Monia Chokri, Anne Dorval
What's it about?
Francis (Xavier Dolan) and Marie (Monia Chokri) are best friends and seemingly have it all – youth, good looks and style in abundance. One night they meet Nicolas (Niels Schneider), newly arrived in Montreal from the country, and they both fall instantly for this beautiful young man. *Winner of the Sydney Film Prize at the 2010 Sydney Film Festival.  * *

Heartbeats Review

The Round Up

[country], 2000
Genre: Drama, History
Language: French, German, Yiddish
Director: Rose Bosch
Starring: Jean Reno, Anne Brochet, Sylvie Testud, Gad Elmaleh, Mélanie Laurent, Joseph Weismann
What's it about?
The story of the mass arrest and containment of 13,000 Jews in a cycling stadium in 1942 - known as "Vel d'Hiv Roundup" - depicts events through eyes of 11-year-old Joseph Weismann, a real-life victim (and rare survivor). This heartrending movie follows him, his friends and family, as they are arrested by the Gestapo and crammed in a Parisian stadium in horrific conditions, unaware the worst is still to come, and the gates of Auschwitz await them. 


The Round Up: Rose Bosch interview
The Round Up Review


The 2018 Alliance Francaise French Film Festival opens around Australia from 27 February. Check the official website  for screenings in your city.