Summer Movies: 10 French Films to Watch

July 14, 2014 | By Films on the Green

For those of us that would like to be vacationing in France, but can’t afford those expensive plane tickets (most of us), we’re offering a cinematic tour of l’hexagone from the seaside villages of Brittany to the rocky hills of southern Provence. Here are 10 summer movies that will make you feel like you’re really on holiday in France :

SWIMMING POOL By François Ozon (2003)

British crime novelist Sarah Morton decides to escape to her publisher’s house in Southern France after facing writer’s block. All seems to be going well until a woman claiming to be the publisher’s young daughter shows up…

(available on Netflix or for rent on Amazon and Vudu)

A SUMMER'S TALE by Eric Rohmer (2014)

Gaspard arrives on holiday in Brittany awaiting his girlfriend Lena who doesn’t arrive. Gaspard becomes close with waitress Margot followed by sensual Solène. This liaison appears promising until Lena suddenly appears…

CONTEMPT by Jean-Luc Godard                                   

A French cinema classic, Godard expresses his take on filmmaking and the battle between producing art and commercial success. Jeremy Prokosch hires director Fritz Lang to direct the new film version of the Odyssey. Dissatisfied with Lang, Prokosch hires Parisian screenwriter Paul Javal to rework the script but conflicts emerge both professionally and personally as the filming progresses.

(available on Netflix or for rent on Amazon and Vudu)

MR. HULOT'S HOLIDAY  by Jacques Tati (1953)

The well-meaning Mr. Hulot goes to a seaside resort for a vacation, where he accidentally but good-naturedly wreaks havoc, provoking one catastrophe after another in this perfect family film.

(available on Netflix)

TWO DAYS IN PARIS by Julie Delpy (2007)

After a disastrous trip to Venice to rekindle their romance, Marion and Jack venture to Paris where Jack learns more than he bargained for about Marion’s past love life. This light-hearted comedy-drama-romance gives you everything you need in one very enjoyable film. 

(available on watch instantly on Netflix or for rent on Amazon and Vudu)

THE MAN OF MY LIFE by Zabou Breitman

On summer holiday in Provence, Frédéric is happily married to wife Frederique and enjoying life as a family man. One day, Frédéric invites his new neighbor Hugo for dinner, who reveals that he is gay. Though settled in his ways, Frédéric begins to develop a friendship with freethinking Hugo.

(available on Netflix)

THE RENDEZ-VOUS OF DÉJÀ-VU | LA FILLE DU 14 JUILLET by Antonin Peretjatko

Due to an economic crisis, the classic five weeks of summer vacation is cut short: an unheard of catastrophe in France. This tragedy leads to much comedy as a group of friends depart for the beach for vacation encountering a bevy of absurd situations.

LES BRONZÉS by Patrice Leconte (1978)

Yet another summer comedy, Les Bronzés satirizes life at summer resorts as a group of 20 people arrive at a Club Med village in the Ivory Coast. New relationships develop and old ones fall apart in this cult comedy classic

L’EFFRONTÉE by Claude Miller (1985)

A rare friendship blossoms between 13-year old Charlotte, a working class girl, and a wealthy piano prodigy of the same age during their summer holidays in the César winning film L’effrontée.

(available on Netflix)

LA PISCINE by Jacques Deray (1969)

If you couldn’t get enough of Alain Delon in Films on the Green’s screening of Purple Noon, he’s back and better than ever in La Piscine as writer Jean-Paul. Jean-Paul and girlfriend Marianne are vacationing in the Côte d’Azur, when they are joined by Jean-Paul’s old friend and Marianne’s former lover, Harry, and his 18-year old daughter, Penepole. Things gradually become tense in this tale of sexual jealousy and possessiveness.

(available on Netflix)

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