Standing With France Today


This is an attack not just on Paris, it’s an attack not just on the people of France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values that we share.” —President Obama, shortly after the Paris attacks

After the terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday, November 13, something over a hundred unfortunate people were killed, and their unfortunate loved ones are condemned to go on without them, and the whole unfortunate city of Paris is in fear and shocked, the country of France wounded, the global community in disarray, and all who suffered from this tragedy are left in mourning. No matter who is behind it, or how this affects the current world discourse, there is no getting those lives back, no undoing the wrong, and it is so painful to realize this.

I work in a traditional French restaurant in Manhattan, which is often peopled by French transplants living in New York City, and my good friend is French, and his family, his friends, a large part of his world is France. Everyone should be hurting today, ready to reflect, to identify with, to sympathize with, to feel the pain of the people of France, of the French community. But it is Paris, France, and all those people living there who are hurting. The Movie Blog hurts and mourns with them.

Those New Wavers out of France, those great thinkers, and critics, and filmmakers, they helped define what it is about American cinema that made it so strong, and what about moviemaking made it such an essential art form. France should hold a special place in the heart of any movie lover. And to show some appreciation for France, for French culture, for French people, we could only turn to one place: Cinema. Here is a list of some of the best French films I’ve ever seen, knowing I’ve seen plenty and there’s plenty I have yet to see. Please, if I have missed one of your favorites, or if you just want to share a word, I urge you to write in the comment section below.

We appreciate French film. We appreciate French culture. Our hearts and our minds are with the people.


Le Million, René Clair, 1931-a beautiful musical with a comedic core

Boudu Saved from Drowning, Jean Renoir, 1932-A wandering drunk isn’t at all the saddest character

Night at the Crossroads, Jean Renoir, 1932-all atmosphere, nothing like it

Zero for Conduct, Jean Vigo, 1933-captures the mayhem of adolescence

L’Atalante, Jean Vigo, 1934-a true gem

La Grande Illusion, Jean Renoir, 1937-The scene where they sing “La Marseillaise”

The Rules of the Game, Jean Renoir, 1939-So much happening, all of it amazing

La Belle et la Bête, Jean Cocteau, 1946-a fairytale with a surreal and subtle tone

Orpheus, Jean Cocteau, 1950-A poet in the underworld

M. Hulot’s Holiday, Jacques Tati, 1953-Sounds but few voices, and brilliant comedy

The Wages of Fear, Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1953-Ridiculously intense, ridiculously ridiculous

Les Diaboliques, Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1955-Beat Hitchcock to it

The 400 Blows, Francois Truffaut, 1959-An all-timer with the all-time final shot

Hiroshima Mon Amour, Alain Resnais, 1959-Outrageous (in every sense) debut film

Breathless, Jean Luc Godard, 1960-Defines the powers of cinema

Eyes Without a Face, Georges Franju, 1960-Singularly scary and downright awesome

Les Bonnes Femmes, Claude Chabrol, 1960-Chabrol….

Shoot the Pianist, Francois Truffaut, 1960-Dark fun

Last Year at Marienbad, Alain Resnais, 1961-A dream you can’t make sense of, a dream you are dying to revisit again and again

Vivre Sa Vie, Jean Luc Godard, 1962-One of his “straightest” films

Contempt, Jean Luc Godard, 1963-The passion of hate

Ophélia, Claude Chabrol, 1963-Chabrol!

The Bakery Girl of Monceau, Eric Rohmer, 1963-Short, sweet, and narrated

Suzanne’s Career, Eric Rohmer, 1963-Womanizers with sugar mamas

Band of Outsiders, Jean Luc Godard, 1964-The dancing

Alphaville, Jean Luc Godard, 1965-A new way to see sci-fi

Pierrot Le Fou, Jean Luc Godard, 1965-The colors

Au Hasard Balthazar, Robert Bresson, 1966-The life of a donkey

Belle Du Jour, Luis Bunuel, 1966-The magic box

Made in U.S.A, Jean Luc Godard, 1966-Frank Tashlin

Je t’aime je t’aime, Alain Resnais, 1968-Reliving a relationship in a very real way

My Night at Maud’s, Eric Rohmer, 1969-Philosophy or sex?

The Unfaithful Wife, Claude Chabrol, 1969-As tense as any married couple ever

Claire’s Knee, Eric Rohmer, 1970-Romance has never been so creepy

Le Boucher, Claude Chabrol, 1970-True love

Le Cercle Rouge, Jean-Pierre Melville, 1970-The perfect imperfect heist

Love in the Afternoon, Eric Rohmer, 1972-Stretching the bounds of marriage

Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, Chantal Akerman, 1975-A feminist film, an experiment, hypnotic, art

My Dinner With Andre, Louis Malle, 1981-Minimalist action, complex film

La Cérémonie, Claude Chabrol, 1995-Friendship by way of psychosis

A Summer’s Tale, Eric Rohmer, 1996-Does it even matter what it’s “about”? It’s Rohmer!

The Fifth Element, Luc Besson, 1997-Why not? It’s fun!

I Stand Alone, Gaspar Noe, 1998-Everything we aren’t, and everything we are

Fat Girl, Catherine Breillat, 2001-Sisters, family, sex, and the bizarre Breillat touch

The Piano Teacher, Michael Haneke, 2001-Sexual perversion as a fine art

Caché, Michael Haneke, 2005-When we see ourselves, it’s scary

Enter the Void, Gaspar Noé, 2009-A true head trip after both 2001 and 2001

Stranger by the Lake, Alain Guiraudie, 2013-A thriller with outlandish sex and the deathly drumbeat and murder at night

Goodbye to Language, Jean Luc Godard, 2014-To remind us we’re getting close to saying goodbye to Godard

About Jules Neuman

Jules has been living in New York City for a decade, is a cinephile and a writer taking his first steps in film criticism. He attended The Ross School (for high school), New School University (creative writing/lit major), lives in Brooklyn and co-hosts a podcast (Gooble Gobble--available on iTunes this Summer...visit for more) about the esoteric films hiding in streaming catalogues like Netflix. Jules believes films should work for him, as he works for them, championing the medium's importance and impact while always demanding each new movie upholds the medium's reputation. Though most movies are a "5" in his book (half bad, half good), the ones that rise above are surely worthy, as are the ones that dip below.