Maryse Fauvel’s Top 5 French/Francophone films

La Grande Illusion, (“Grand Illusion”) 1938 by Jean Renoir: an antiwar movie which reflects mechanisms of the construction of national identities. This black and white movie is also well known for its techniques, e.g., parallel editing, long takes in deep focus and dynamic compositions.

Nuit et brouillard, (“Night and Fog”), 1955 by Alain Resnais: a 35 minute-long documentary on Nazi concentration camps. Using powerful graphically discontinuous editing, color footage of an abandoned concentration camp today is cut together with black-and-white newsreel shots of the camps in the period 1942-1945.

La Haine (“Hate”), 1995 by Mathieu Kassovitz: illustrates the cinéma de banlieue genre (unemployment, ethnic violence and racism in underprivileged environments, especially suburbs of Paris, social fragmentation).  Filmed in black-and-white, the camerawork and editing underline social fragmentation of the time.

Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis, 2008 by Dany Boon: a comedy with an enormous commercial success, although made without special effects and a reduced budget. It illustrates the role of regional cultures and identities in a nation. The script has been bought by the United States which wants to rewrite it for an American audience.

Les Silences du Palais (“The Silences of the Palace”), 1993 by Moufida Tlatli: illustrates the new Tunisian Cinema and the recovering of personal and historical memory. The film visually translates an indescribable suffering, a scream without a sound.