When we pick out movies and shows we recommend for streaming, we often focus on new releases, but today we are focusing on the classics! If you want to practice your French, or simply spend an hour or two in France, we recommend the following French classics which are all available to stream now, in order of release. Once you are done, make sure to sign up for our next cycle of French classes, starting at the end of October.

 

The Rules of the Game (La Règle du Jeu)

Jean Renoir (1939, France), Kanopy

A delight from beginning to end, this classic film was directed by the painter Renoir’s son, who also plays the role of the dissolute son of a great father in the film. A comedy of manners in French high-society in the 1930’s that turns darker by the second half of the film. Full of amazing types–the slinky mistress, the charming chamber maid, the heroic aviator–played by equally fascinating real-life Parisian celebrities.

 

Jules and Jim (Jules et Jim)

Francois Truffaut (1962, France), Amazon

A lovely romance by Truffaut set in early 20th century France. Before World War I, Catherine has two lovers, an Austrian and a French man. She marries the Austrian, but years later when she meets the French man in Berlin, she begins to fall in love with him again. A charming but avant-garde view of love, romance, men and women.

 

Cleo from 5 to 7 (Cléo de 5 à 7)

Agnes Varda (1962, France), Kanopy

A woman’s view of life changes before her eyes in the two hours between 5 to 7 that she must wait to learn the results of a cancer test. As she wanders Paris, she reflects on her little life as a cabaret singer and wonders how much time she has left.

 

Pierrot le Fou

Jean-Luc Godard (1969, France), Amazon

Godard’s late 60’s masterpiece turns the conventional tale of a bored upper-middle class man who leaves his wife for the babysitter into a surrealist anti-bourgeois carnival. The philandering couple goes on the run from their life and quickly take to crime and savage behavior. And it’s a musical!