Thursday, 8 January 2009

Exhaustive reply to a simple Facebook query... or... My Favourite French Films to Party to

Friends! And a Happy January 2009 to you! (Is it too late for me to wish you such things? A week has passed, but the year is new! So deal with it!)

So a friend of mine who lives on an idyllic but snowy island far far away (PEI - I nearly mentioned Anne of Green Gables and then checked myself with this brilliant Lytotes. I love those things!) asked me via facebook just now if I could recommend her a film to watch at her French themed Birthday party. She was looking for me to simply remind her of the title of one of my favourite films (Jules and Jim), but as I went to type the words in I couldn't help myself. I suddenly felt the videostore clerk of yore swell up in me and I just wanted to tell her about every french film that might be even remotely appropriate for her party, depending on the party she planned on throwing. Awe-struck and slightly offput by the exhaustiveness of the response I sent her - I have decided to relay it to you here - to cheat on my first blog posting of the year by making that blog posting an email. (Two crickets with one pebble. Hurrah!)
Read on si vous dare! They are listed in order of preference.

1. Jules and Jim. A classic by director Francois Truffaut, but how well received it will be will very much depend on your party. This is not an upbeat movie, necessarily, and it's in black and white. The ending is particularly depressing, though there is some fun frenchness going on, and at one point Jeanne Moreau sings a song. It could be called the filet of the Nouvelle Vague. (get it? Filet? get it? I'm being all Frenchlike!)

2. Donkeyskin (Peau D'Ane - it sounds much prettier in French, but what doesnt?) This movie is by Jacques Demi, and is full of colour, irony, fancy costumes, oddly jubilant songs about incest, and a young and beautiful Catherine Deneuve. It might be a stretch to get in PEI- I had some trouble locating it in Toronto and London - but if you can, and you have 60s aesthetes at the party - they will Love it.

3. Zazie dans le Metro. Can't remember the director of this one - and again, it might be hard to get, but it's fast paced, weird, and hilarious. A very good movie for people at a party to dip in and out of.

4. Jean de Florette. This is more the "paysan" french, rather than the "stylish Parisian" french, also, it starts a young Gerard Depardieu and was filmed in the late 80s, I believe, but if you guys are sitting down for a proper screening, and party mood is not important, it's also a total classic. The sequel, Manon des Sources, is arguably inferior. I wouldn't go for it because it won't be as safe a bet.

6. The Last Metro. Another Truffaut. An even younger (and weirdly dreamy) Depardieu. Also awesome - this time about the theatre. It's in colour, which is nice, but it's long and not as much fun as the others listed here.

7. Stolen Kisses. Screw it, for a party, this may be my first choice. Though I only hesitate in putting it at number one because I only ever saw it as a screening at university - but I remember it being very Wes Anderson - lots of great colours, and sort of an odd sense of humour. I think a young french guy becomes embroiled in some sort of undercover affair? Oh, I only remember the ending. Okay, maybe this is a bad choice.

Equally French party choices if you can't get any of the ones just mentioned: Breathless, Belle du Jour, Vivre Sa Vie, Masculin/Feminin, 400 Blows, Day for Night. The thing to remember about the generic Nouvelle Vague film is that it's more stylish than it is fun - so again, you might just say, Tant-pis and go for An American in Paris instead.

Wow! I got so into that! I might post this email on my blog!

(Which of course, as you know if you've been able to stand reading this far, I did. Happy New Year, bloggy friends! Who's bringing the Camembert?)


Anonymous said...

Very Interesting!
Thank You!

Anonymous said...

You forgot Andrew Jackson’s Big Block of Cheese with nary a macaroni in sight.