Our next cycle of language classes starts March 7. Until then, why not brush up with French cinema on Netflix? Most people hear “French cinema” and think of romance and prickly art-house features. We at Idlewild love romance, and we love a black-and-white art film as much as the next francophile, but why not try something different? In recent years, French cinema has become known for a number of expertly-plotted, crowd-pleasing thrillers. Below, some of our favorites currently available on Netflix. A little action and suspense may keep you warm through these cold weeks. And besides, romance in February…a little boring, n’est-ce pas?
Paris by Night
Philippe Lefebvre (2012, France) Netflix
Hard-boiled crime drama playing up the dark side of the city of lights. A night in the life of a Paris cop shows the corruption and organized crime rotting a Paris vice squad from within. This thriller is an appealing blend of straightforward police procedural and high-end French film noir. It’s worth watching just for the voyeuristic view inside the nightclubs and bars of today’s Parisian demi-monde.
Jean-Paul Salomé (2008, France) Netflix
In 1944 London, a female French special agent becomes involved in a plot to rescue a British prisoner of war in the lead up to D-Day. She joins with a ragtag group of female resistance fighters as their mission becomes more complex, eventually including a teargas-laced striptease. Based on a true story.
TL;DR: Badass French babes killing Nazis.
Franck Mancuso (2007, France), Netflix
This dark, contemporary thriller follows the twists and turns of an investigation that becomes personal for a veteran cop. After his young daughter is found dead, a suspect is quickly arrested and charged. But is he the killer? From prison, the accused murderer begins to convince the grieving father that the true murderer is still on the loose…
Tell No One
Guillaume Canet, (2006, France) Netflix
A doctor’s beloved wife turns up dead, and he’s the main suspect. Never convicted, he moves on with his life until, years later, new evidence emerges and he is once again under suspicion. Meanwhile, a series of images and messages lead him to believe his wife may still be alive. Can he clear his name? Can he find her? Bonus: Scintillating Kristin Scott Thomas shows all us non-native French speakers how it’s done.