Sunday, February 23, 2014

Simple Pleasure Sunday: French Films

I was on a bit of a French film kick recently. I watched three movies in French with English subtitles in about a week's time. It all started with this list of recommendations.

First, I spontaneously rented Romantics Anonymous. A man running a failing chocolate factory hires a woman and both happen to suffer from severe social anxiety, so afraid of life, particularly close interaction with others. I found myself laughing out loud at their awkward moments. They fall in love while saving the business. Like I said in this recent Simple Pleasure Sunday post, I indulged in dessert before viewing this sweet movie, which is a recipe for a nice night!

Pan-EuropĂ©enne via BuzzFeed

Fortunately, I don't suffer that extreme level of social anxiety, but I've always have been shy and I can relate to the characters a bit. If I'm truly awful at something, like singing karaoke, speaking in front of a large group, or dancing in any sort of coordinated way, I could potentially feel an urge to politely withdraw or even run away as well. Growing up, I remember often practicing what I was going to reply in my head before it was my turn to speak aloud in front of a group. I was terrified of making a mistake and standing out. And now, I live for travel, which is placing yourself in situations in which you don't know what will happen next! Unbelievable! Furthermore, I don't feel very mainstream and conformist anymore, planning to live in a small apartment as an expat in Italy one day and not wanting children. Although, I remain a shy and quiet individual. Even though I've "worked on it" and grown out of shyness in major ways, I still deem those traits as positive. I like being that way. Salesperson currently by trade, I have to be bubbly and outgoing rather than my natural shy, soft-spoken, quiet state. I do bring plenty of my own strengths to the table and as a result of both this act and my natural abilities, I am confident and successful in my work. However, it can be exhausting to be someone I'm kinda not for eight hours straight. A bit of quiet time is needed to recharge as an introvert. I don't need to give myself a pep talk, however, like the characters in the movie did. "I am a volcano." Yeah... I don't say that! Maybe I should...

Anyway! Since I enjoyed that French film so much, I chose another off the same list, I Do. That one was a little crazy though! ...but entertaining. This guy with a close, meddling, loud family are fed up with caring for him so they try to find him a wife. Instead of trying it their way or standing up to them, he devises a secret plan. He hires a woman to charm them but to stand him up at the altar. That way, depressed, no one will bother him anymore. That plan goes awry, so he devises a new plan. These parts are even more entertaining. As you can probably predict, the two fall in love in the process. There wasn't a rental option available, so I actually purchased it.

I was just looking at Romantics Anonymous on Amazon the following weekend, just to see how much it would be to buy, but noticed similar recommendations toward the bottom of the webpage. I recognized Audrey Tautou from AmelieCoco Before Chanel and The Da Vinci Code on the art for one, so I rented Delicacy last Sunday night. I thought it was good. I adore this talented actress and really felt for her character. Audrey Tautou's character's husband dies so she throws herself into her career. One day, she simply walks up to a co-worker and kisses him, not thinking about it at all. This nice guy can't just let that go! Unfortunately, there are many obstacles in their courtship, but luckily it's no match for these two.

I enjoy foreign films. I like picking up on the language just a bit. Perhaps the common French phrases will come in handy during my trip to Paris. Plus, it's nice to see something out of the ordinary. Parts can be different from things Hollywood would produce at times, especially so many repeat outfits for the leading ladies!

Do you have any French film recommendations for me?


  1. Love French films! I have a whole list, lol. For the classics, I adore Bande a` Part (Band of Outsiders, in English) or A Bout de Souffle (Breathless) by Godard. Newer films I like are A` la Follie....pas du tout (He loves me, He loves me not) with Audrey Tautou. It isn't a typical Tautou film. ;-) I also really really liked Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis. This latter film I saw in its Italian remake Benvenuto al Sud, and kind of jokes about the North/South stereotypes...only in France, the northerners are the 'rubes'. lol. It's really funny. I am not sure what it's called in English or if available, but worth a try!

    1. Thank you so much for your recommendations! I'll search for each of them on Amazon. When I was looking into renting "He loves me, He loves me not" recently, it was not an option, so instead I borrowed another Audrey Tautou movie, "Hunting and Gathering (Ensemble C'est Tout). It was good, but "Romantics Anonymous" was still my favorite.

      Since an Italian movie won Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars, I might throw that into the mix too. Have you seen "The Great Beauty?"


    2. He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not is also hard to find online. :( Maybe you can find it in a Target sale? I got my copy years ago that way. :) I'll check out the Audrey film you mentioned, too!
      I did see The Great Beauty. I don't know what to say..... it's certainly breathtaking visually. I appreciate the story about certain excess....but I also found it a bit slow. I think I need to watch it again, fully focused.

      btw, see if this link works for you:

  2. P.S. Another good film is Le Gamin au Velo (The Kid with a Bike). It's a bit "French" in style....that is, kind of heavy with the topic, but really well done all around. It really pulled me in. I think it also won some awards.