The Five Best French Films On Netflix

French cinema has a long and rich history dating back to the late 19th century. In 1895, when Auguste and Louis Lumière invented the Cinematographe, the first machine was used to record and display the first moving images.

Today, French cinema is as popular as ever, and, lucky for us, there are many great French films available on platforms such as HBO, Prime Video and Netflix.

If, like us, you are a fan of French cinema, here are 5 of the best French films currently streaming on Netflix UK.

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1. La Haine (Hatred)

La Haine is a 1995 film directed by Mathieu Kassovitz. It tells the story of three young friends living in the deprived suburbs of Paris who are struggling to deal with the aftermath of a violent riot.

The film is notable for its gritty realism and its portrayal of the violent reality of life in the banlieues (the outskirt districts of Paris). Among its many accolades, it won the Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival in 1995.

Instead of presenting a romanticized version of a bohemian Paris (which we have so often seen in the past), Kassovitz exposes the harsh realities of unprivileged youth in late 20th-century France. As a result, this film is a great choice for those who are looking for exposure to “street French”, as it includes many slang words and expressions that are commonly used in everyday conversation by the lower classes.

If you're looking for a realistic film that will show you a side of France rarely depicted on the screen, La Haine is a great choice.

2. La Vie d'Adèle (Blue Is the Warmest Color)

La Vie d'Adèle, also known as Blue Is the Warmest Color, is a 2013 film directed by Abdellatif Kechiche. It tells the story of a young lesbian couple, Adèle and Emma, as they navigate the ups and downs of young love.

This film caused quite a stir when it was released, due to its graphic depictions of sex. However, it has also been praised for its honest and realistic portrayal of a same-sex relationship. La Vie d'Adèle won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2013, making it the first lesbian-themed film to ever receive this honour.

If you're looking for a film that challenges traditional notions of love and sexuality, La Vie d'Adèle is definitely worth watching.

For French learners, this film is a must-watch since Adèle and Emma, the main characters speak in a very realistic way, using everyday language and lots of terminology about gender, sexuality and relationships that real middle-class French millennials would use on a daily basis.

3. J'ai perdu mon corps (I Lost My Body)

J'ai perdu mon corps is a 2019 animated film directed by Jérémy Clapin. It tells the story of Naoufel, a young man living in Paris, who is trying to find his place in the world. At the same time, we follow the story of Naoufel's severed hand, which has come to life and is searching for its owner.

Everything in this film is as strangely beautiful as it sounds. It is a beautiful and unique coming-of-age story that will stay with you long after you watch it, and that you will want to recommend to all your friends. The hand-drawn animation is simply gorgeous, and the love story at its core is both heartwarming and heartbreaking.

J'ai perdu mon corps is also one of the best French films on Netflix for advanced learners of French. The hand, which serves as the narrator of the story, speaks in a lyrical, literary register that will make you want to go back and play the same lines over and over again. In fact, we do urge you to play the film with French subtitles and write down your favourite quotes as you go!

4. Entre les Murs (The Class)

One of the most acclaimed French films on Netflix, Entre les Murs is a 2008 film directed by Laurent Cantet. It is based on the autobiographical novel of the same name by François Bégaudeau, who also stars in the film.

The film follows a year in the life of a French teacher, Mr. Marin, as he tries to maintain order and engage his students in a working-class district of Paris.

This film provides a rare glimpse into the lives of French students from disadvantaged backgrounds, and it gives insights into the challenges they face both inside and outside of the classroom.

The film was a critical and commercial success, winning the Palme d'Or at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival. It was also nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2009 Academy Awards.

Although the film is set in Paris, the issues it addresses are relevant to any city with a large immigrant population. If you're interested in social and cultural issues, Entre les Murs is a must-watch. Besides, it’s a wonderful opportunity to learn lots of vocabulary related to the classroom, such as professeur (teacher), étudiant (student),  tableau noir (blackboard), and examen (test).

5. Bon Cop, Bad Cop

Bon Cop, Bad Cop is a 2006 Canadian comedy-thriller film directed by Erik Canuel. It stars Patrick Huard and Colm Feore as two detectives, one from Quebec and the other from Ontario, who have to put aside their differences to solve a murder.

This film is a perfect example of Canadian humour at its best. It's clever, witty and sure to leave you laughing out loud.

If you're looking for a light-hearted film to watch, Bon Cop, Bad Cop is a great choice. It is also an excellent choice for beginner learners of Québécois French, as the movie's broad comedy and action-packed scenes will help you follow the story even if you're not fluent in French. In fact, the film is technically bilingual (French and English), which makes it perfect for those who don't feel ready to watch an entire film in French just yet.

So, there you go. These are some of the best French films on Netflix UK available in 2022. Which one will you start with?

The movies in this list represent the qualities that we love about French-language films, which are known for their artistry and elegance, but also for that inimitable light touch that makes them accessible and entertaining even they deal with heavy topics such as loss and inequality.

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If you're looking for an escape from the usual Hollywood fare, search for one (or all of!) these French films on Netflix, curl up on the sofa with some popcorn and enjoy the magic of cinema.

Oh, and if you want to go beyond mere exposure to the French language and start working on your fluency, send us a quick message. At Listen & Learn, we work with native teachers of French to offer customised, one-to-one classes that are tailored to your needs and interests. Contact us today to find out more about how we can help you reach your language goals.