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The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

Jacques Demy's UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG tops the list of 50 Best French Language Films as selected by Chlotrudis. Interestingly enough, this film came in at #6 in the list of 50 Best Movie Musicals!

Last updated: January 10, 2010
Copyright 2006 Michael R. Colford.
All rights reserved

Chlotrudis Society Picks:
50 Best French Language Films!

To celebrate its 20th annual awards ceremony, the Chlotrudis Society for Independent Film will be publishing a series of Top 20 lists on its Facebook page. For the website however, we've expanded this first list to a Top 50. The 50 Best French Language Films is our first list for the year, in honor of the French Cultural Center, a long-time supporter of the organization, and the first sponsor of the 20th annual Chlotrudis Awards, to be held on Sunday, March 16 at the Brattle Theatre. The entire list of films chosen by Chlotrudis members topped 250.

Topping our list is Jacques Demy's classic musical, THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG from 1964. The sixties was a good decade for French films, 11 of the Top 50 were released then, the second highest decade following the 2000's with 12. In the runner-up spot is Michael Haneke with THE PIANO TEACHER, the first of three films of his to appear on the list. Ironically, Haneke is German, but makes most of his films in French. Other directors to score three films in the Top 50 include François Truffaut, whose THE 400 BLOWS comes in at #3, Jean-Luc Godard, whose BREATHLESS comes in at #6, and one of three female directors on the list, Claire Denis, whose BEAU TRAVAIL shows up at #14. The oldest film on the list is from 1928, and that's Carl Theodor Dreyer's THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC. Two French Canadian films made the list, #16, Denys Arcand's THE BARBARIAN INVASIONS, and #17, Philippe Falardeau whose MONSIEUR LAZHAR was a Best Movie nominee in 2012.

We hope you enjoy our list of the 50 Best French Language Films of all time!

01 The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
Jacques Demy
1964
02 The Piano Teacher
Michael Haneke
2001
03 The 400 Blows
François Truffaut 1959
04 Amélie Jean-Pierre Jeunet
2001
05 Cache Michael Haneke
2005
06 Breathless Jean-Luc Godard
1960
07 Beauty and the Beast
Jiean Cocteau
1946
08 Holy Motors Leos Carax
2012
09 The Passion of Joan of Arc
Carl Theodor Dreyer 1928
10 Belle de Jour
Luis Buñuel 1967
11 Hiroshima Mon Amour
Alain Resnais 1959
12 The Beat That My Heart Skipped
Jacques Audiard 2005
13 The Battle of Algiers
Gillo Pontecorvo 1966
14 Beau Travail
Claire Denis
1999
15 Contempt Jean-Luc Godard 1963
16 The Barbarian Invasions
Denys Arcand 2003
17 Monsieur Lazhar
Philippe Falardeau 2011
18 Children of Paradise
Marcel Carné 1945
19 I've Loved You So Long
Philippe Claudel 2008
20 The Rules of the Game
Jean Renoir 1939
21 Band of Outsiders
Jean-Luc Godard 1964
22 Amour Michael Haneke
2012
23 Diabolique Henri-Georges Clouzot 1955
24 Three Colors: Blue
Krzysztof Kieslowski 1993
25 Jean de Florette
Claude Berri 1986
26 The Widow of St. Pierre
Patrice Leconte
2000
27 Army of Shadows
Jean-Pierre Melville 1969
28 The Triplets of Belleville
JSylvain Chomet 2003
29 Three Colors: Red
Krzysztof Kieslowski 1994
30 Eyes Without a Face
Georges Franju 1960
31 Ponette Jacques Doillon 1996
32 The Girl on the Bridge
Patrice Leconte 1999
33 Rust and Bone
Jacques Audiard 2012
34 Bullhead Michaël R. Roskam 2011
35 Fantastic Planet
René Laloux 1973
36 35 Shots of Rum
Claire Denis
2008
37 Jules and Jim
François Truffaut 1962
38 Delicatessen Marc Caro; Jean-Pierre Jeunet 1991
39 The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
Luis Buñuel 1972
40 Day for Night
François Truffaut 1973
41 Last Year at Marienbad
Alain Resnais 1961
42 Persepolis Vincent Paronnaud; Marjane Satrapi 2007
43 Elevator to the Gallows
Louis Malle 1958
44 Diary of a Country Priest
Robert Bresson 1951
45 The Red Ballood
Albert Lamorisse 1956
46 La Moustache
Emmanuel Carrère 2005
47 The Grand Illusion
Jean Renoir 1937
48 Cleo from 5 to 7
Agnes Varda 1962
49 L'Atlante Jean Vigo 1934
50 Friday Night
Claire Denis
2002