In honor of Rosecrans Baldwin’s PARIS, I LOVE YOU BUT YOU’RE BRINGING ME DOWN, out today in paperback, Picador is going to Paris all this month.
We’re starting with excellent French films streaming on Netflix, and two that aren’t but that you should rent because they’re awesome.
Let us know your faves. For all you who notice a lack of Jean-Luc Godard mentions, no fear! He’ll have a post all his own.
Blame It on Fidel (2006)
Nina Kervel-Bey stars as 9-year-old Anna, a privileged young Parisian girl whose orderly, structured life is thrown into turmoil when her parents are drawn into Paris’s turbulent and radical 1970s political scene. Julie Gavras (daughter of famed French filmmaker Costa-Gavras) directs this 2007 Sundance Film Festival competition entry.
A Happy Event (2011)
When a vivacious French grad student unexpectedly gets pregnant, she and her boyfriend scramble to make sense of the new path their lives have taken, including the trepidation, joy and other wildly conflicting emotions that come with having a baby.
The Red Balloon (1956)
A young Parisian boy (Pascal Lamorisse) finds a balloon — or does the balloon find him? Together, boy and balloon wander the streets of Montmartre and the adjacent neighborhoods, encountering adults and gangs of local kids as the balloon becomes the boy’s inseparable companion. Directed by Albert Lamorisse (who won a Best Original Screenplay Oscar), the fanciful 34-minute film also won a special BAFTA Award.
This French drama presents a fictionalized but well-researched portrait of the juvenile protection division of the Paris court system, following a documentarian as she films the employees in the department and the children under its authority.
The Spanish Apartment (2002)
When a Frenchman signs on to become an exchange student and learn Spanish so he can land a coveted job, he heads to Barcelona and moves in with a host of other young Europeans who help him discover how to enjoy life.
When impish Amélie finds a long-hidden trove of toys behind a baseboard in her apartment, she’s inspired to return the items to their original owner, an impulse of generosity that sparks more benevolent acts.
La Haine (1995)
French director Mathieu Kassovitz traces a fateful day in the lives of alienated ghetto youths Vinz (Vincent Cassel), Saïd (Saïd Taghmaoui) and Hubert (Hubert Koundé) — a Jew, an Arab and an African, respectively — who are grappling with the aftermath of unexpected tragedy. When their friend Abdel lies comatose after a police beating, Vinz vows to dispense rough justice, sealing the destiny of all three.