French filmmakers have long mastered the art of entertaining. From love stories and comedy to family pictures, creative directors often manage to strike a balance between serious and enjoyable films. Crafting light, humorous moments amid powerful plays is pure art, and the French are masters at it. There are several streaming websites for discovering interesting French films these days, and one of the best French movies on HBO Max is our pick! HBO Max is an excellent streaming giant for foreign-language films, particularly those in French.
In this piece, we’ll walk you through our current selection of the best French movies on HBO Max. If you want to study French, you probably already know that viewing movies is an excellent approach to enhancing your abilities. So, let’s get started!
List of Best French Movies On HBO Max
1. The Wages of Fear (Le salaire de la peur)
When “The Wages of Fear,” a famous French thriller from 1953, was first released in the US, it was missing parts of many of the early scenes. US distributors said these parts were too long, and Parisian reviewers said they were anti-American. Now that the film is released in director Henri-Georges Clouzot’s original edit for the first time, it is feasible to see that both sides have valid points. The film’s long stretches of tension are among the best in cinema. Four desperate guys, impoverished and stuck in a backwater of Central America, agree to transport two truckloads of nitroglycerin 300 kilometers along a perilous route.
2. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Le scaphandre et le papillon)
“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” is a film about a guy who suffers from “locked-in syndrome,” a condition in which he is awake and alert but unable to connect with the outside world. My terror started, I believe, when I was a youngster and first read Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Premature Burial” at an age much too young to consider such a possibility. At least the guy in the picture can see and hear; the hero in Dalton Trumbo’s “Johnny Got His Gun” is utterly imprisoned within his own head. The film is based on a real guy and the book he wrote despite only being able to blink with his left eye. When he had his debilitating stroke, Jean-Dominique Bauby (Mathieu Amalric) was the editor of Elle, the French fashion magazine.
3. Black Girl (La noire de…)
The first two films in an interesting experiment by Three Penny Cinema are “Black Girl” and “Borom Sarret,” which are both from Senegal. Every Wednesday for the next six weeks, the theater will show a first-run, underappreciated art film that may not have been shown here otherwise. These first two films are worth viewing merely for the glimpses they give of Senegalese society; all too often, we forget the innocent fascination we had as children watching movies about countries we’d never been to. They are among the few African films available in the United States, and spectators know very little about actual Africa, where King Solomon no longer mines.
4. Three Colors: Blue or Trois Couleurs: Bleu
After making “Red” (1994), the last film in his “Three Colors” trilogy, Krzysztof Kieslowski said he was done making movies. He was not a guy who was tired of working. It was the retirement of a magician, a Prospero happy to put his trade aside—”to read and smoke.” He was just 56 when he died two years later. Because he made most of his early work in Poland during the Cold War and because his masterpiece “The Decalogue” consists of ten one-hour films that do not fit easily on the multiplex conveyor belt, he has yet to receive the kind of acclaim that those with whom he deserves to be associated, such as Bergman, Ozu, Fellini, Keaton, and Bunuel, have received.
5. Eyes Without a Face (Les yeux sans visage)
“I’ve done so many things wrong in order to execute this miracle.” Professor Genessier has cause to be sorry. He is a recognized Parisian plastic surgeon and speaker on the topic of “heterografting,” which involves transplanting live tissue from one person to another. The disadvantage of this method is that it needs both people to be alive. He wants to restore the harm caused by his daughter’s face being ruined in a careless automobile accident by transplanting the face of another lady. The “wonder” he alludes to is the face of Louise, his girlfriend, nurse, and helper. He has rebuilt her face so well that she now looks like Alida Valli, who played Harry Lime’s girlfriend in the movie “The Third Man.”
6. Elevator to the Gallows (Ascenseur pour l’échafaud)
She is madly in love with him. In the frantic closeup that starts Louis Malle’s “Elevator to the Gallows,” she repeats into the phone, “Je t’aime, je t’aime” (1958). He has to know this since he’s going to kill someone for them. The lady is Jeanne Moreau, in her debut part, appearing scarred by the sorrow of love. She portrays Florence, the billionaire weapons merchant Simon Carala’s wife (Jean Wall). Julien Tavernier (Maurice Ronet), her boyfriend, is a paratrooper who fought in Vietnam and Algeria during conflicts that made Carala wealthy. He now works for Carala and plans to murder him and kidnap his wife.
7. Le Samouraï
a room that is completely vacant. No, it’s not empty. We can just make out a guy on the bed in the darkness. He smokes a cigarette, and smoke rises towards a sliver of light coming in through the window. After a while, the guy gets up, dresses, and walks up to a hat stand near the entrance. He puts on his fedora, delicately adjusts the brim, and walks down the street. Like painters and musicians, filmmakers can show their skill with just a few moves. Before uttering a single word, Jean-Pierre Melville casts the spell of “Le Samourai” (1967). He does it with light—a chilly light, like sunrise on a bad day. Colors include grays and blues. And acts that speak louder than words.
8. Breathless (À bout de souffle)
Jean-Luc Godard’s 1960 film “Breathless” marks the beginning of modern cinema. Since “Citizen Kane” in 1942, no first picture has had the same impact. The film’s impetuous tempo, cool detachment, disdain of authority, and the way its narcissistic young characters are concerned with themselves and oblivious to greater society are all groundbreaking. “Breathless” is still a live film that has the potential to surprise and engage us after all these years.
“Diabolique” is not so much a remake as it is a rejection of the classic 1955 French thriller. It takes the renowned original ending—which viewers were advised not to reveal—and discards its beauty and humour in favour of a farcical conflict in which one character has a rake stuck in the skull and a policewoman approves of a murder. Filmgoers should compare the two “Diaboliques” side by side to understand how the Hollywood manufacturing machine wrecked its former treasures. “Don’t be a demon,” read the film’s concluding titles.
10. Jules and Jim (Jules et Jim)
“Jules and Jim,” directed by François Truffaut, begins with carousel music and a frenetic narrative about two young men, one French and one Austrian, who meet in Paris in 1912 and become lifelong friends: “They taught one other their languages; they translated poetry.” Jules, the Austrian, wants a female, but those he dates are too quiet, too chatty, or somehow faulty, and although he tries a professional, it isn’t the solution, either: Truffaut conveys everything with an image of her ankle with a wristwatch wrapped around it.
Extraordinary effects are abundant in American films, and not only in Star Wars! Americans, I believe, enjoy action pictures, while the French prefers less action, more drama, and more discussion. French films are often a mirror of life, disguised as a comedy. So, to find the finest of them, get the best French movies on HBO Max!
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