Reading Advisory at the Ames Public Library
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Reading Advisory at the Ames Public Library
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French Films at Ames Public Library

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A-B | C-D | E-H | I-M | N-S | T-Z | Other DVDs and Videos on French Topics

In French with English captions, unless otherwise noted.

Caché (DVD FOREIGN CAC)  118 min.  2005. 

A talk show host and his family seem to live an ideal life until videotapes of their private lives appear on their front porch. The videos lead to conflict, obsession, and deceit for the couple and bring memories of the husband's childhood when he wronged an Algerian boy.

Café de Flore (DVD FOREIGN CAF)  120 min.  2011. 

In 2011, Antoine has a girlfriend, Rose, and is raising his two daughters. However, Antoine is still infatuated with his ex-wife Carole, the mother of his children. Carole hopes he'll return to her, although there's little evidence to suggest he will. In 1969, Jacqueline is a single mother raising a seven-year-old son with Down Syndrome. Jacqueline and Carole share a special connection.

La Cage aux Folles (DVD FOREIGN CAG)  97 min.  1978. 

This is a gender-bending farce about the owner of a drag-revue nightclub, his high-strung transvestite "companion," and a wedding that defies all odds.

Cairo Time (DVD FOREIGN CAI)  90 min.  2009. 

Magazine editor Juliette arrives in Cairo to meet her husband Mark, a UN official in Gaza. When he is delayed, Mark sends his former security officer Tareq to show Juliette the city. As she adjusts to the rhythm of Cairo life, she finds herself falling for the city's charms and Tareq, also.

Camille Claudel (DVD FOREIGN CAM)  159 min.  1989. 

This is an accurate story of an important collaboration in art history, that of legendary sculptor Rodin and the creative prodigy Camille Claudel.

Carlos (DVD FOREIGN CAR)  In Arabic, Cantonese, English, French, German, Hungarian, Japanese, Russian or Spanish, with English captions.  339 min.  2011. 

This is an epic, intensely detailed account of the life of the infamous international terrorist Ilich Ramirez Sanchez − also known as Carlos the Jackal. One of the twentieth century's most wanted fugitives, Carlos was committed to violent left-wing activism throughout the seventies and eighties, orchestrating bombings, kidnappings, and hijackings in Europe and the Middle East.

Le Cercle Rouge (DVD FOREIGN CER)  140 min.  1970. 

A master thief is fresh out of prison. But instead of toeing the line, his steps lead back to the shadowy world of crime. He, a notorious escapee, and an alcoholic ex-cop plan a jewel heist, while being pursued by a police superintendent.

La Cérémonie (DVD FOREIGN CER)  111 min.  1996. 

Catherine hires the illiterate Sophie to work as her maid at her remote home in the French countryside. But Sophie soon falls under the influence of the mysterious Jeanne and suddenly the stage is set for murder, violence and betrayal.

Certified Copy (Copie Conforme) (DVD FOREIGN CER)  In French with some sequences in English and Italian, with English captions.  106 min.  2010. 

What starts as a straightforward tale of two people getting to know each other gradually reveals itself as something richer, stranger, and trickier: a mind-bending reflection on authenticity, in art as well as in relationships. This film reminds us that love itself is an enigma.

Cesar  168 min.  1936.  See The Fanny Trilogy.

Cet Amour-Lá (DVD FOREIGN CET)  95 min.  2001. 

Marguerite Duras is one of the most widely read French novelists today. She had a celebrated love affair with Yann, her much younger muse and apprentice. The film also offers an insight into the heart and mind of one of the world's literary figures.

Changing Times (DVD FOREIGN CHA)  In French or Arabic, with English captions.  100 min.  2004. 

Antoine still has feelings for his first love Cecile after 30 years and arranges to be reunited with her in Morocco in the hope of rekindling their love.

Children of Love (DVD FOREIGN CHI)  87 min.  2002. 

Michael, Winnie, and Aurelie are three children of divorced parents. As they prepare to spend the weekend with their fathers, Winnie suffers from a difficult relationship with her father and a lack of her stepfather’s affection. For Michael, his father is a hero and he blames his stepfather for the divorce. Aurelie is happy to see her father and doesn't understand her siblings.

Children of Paradise (DVD FOREIGN CHI)  190 min.  1945. 

This is the story of theatrical society in 19th century Paris and the love between the mime Debureau and the courtesan Garance, who is also loved by an aristocrat, a criminal, and an actor.

Children of the Century (DVD FOREIGN CHI)  137 min.  2004. 

This is the story of the tempestuous and passionate love affair between George Sand and poet Alfred de Musset, two of the 19th century's most headstrong Romanticists. Official Selection at the Cannes Film Festival.

The Chorus (DVD FOREIGN CHO)  97 min.  2004. 

Unemployed music teacher Clement Mathieu becomes the supervisor at a boarding school for the rehabilitation of minors. Dismayed by the repressive administration, he works to positively transform the students' lives through music.

A Christmas Tale (DVD FOREIGN CHR)  152 min.  2008. 

Junon is the matriarch of the troubled Vuillard family, who comes together at Christmas after she finds she needs a bone marrow transplant from a blood relative. The Vuillard's history of physical and mental illness, estrangement, self harm, and loss doesn't lead to a cheerful holiday season. Hopefully the Christmastime reunion will finally bring peace to their family.

Claire’s Knee (DVD FOREIGN CLA)  106 min.  1970. 

On vacation without his fiancée, a diplomat flirts with one woman, but harbors a secret obsession for her stunning teenage sister.

The Class (DVD FOREIGN CLA)  130 min.  2008. 

François and his fellow teachers prepare for a new year at a high school in a tough neighborhood. Although they try to give the best education, the teens’ difficult behavior jeopardizes a teacher's enthusiasm for the low-paying job. François insists on respect and diligence, and his frankness takes the students by surprise. But he is tested when his students challenge his methods.

Classe Tous Risques (DVD FOREIGN CLA)  108 min.  1960. 

Exiled from France, underworld kingpin Abel Davos has been living for nearly a decade in Milan, even acquiring a family. In spite of the death sentence hanging over his head, Davos wants to return with them to France. His old mob cronies have gone bourgeois and affluent, reluctant to help, sending just one young thief, Eric Stark, to his aid. An exploration of the importance of loyalty and honor among thieves, this film shows exactly what “stand-up guys” stand up for. Stark is the only Parisian gangster who understands the code they have forgotten and does his best to live by it.

The Closet (DVD FOREIGN CLO)  85 min.  2000. 

François, an accountant in a condom factory, is about to be fired. To prevent this, his neighbor creates photos and spreads a rumor that François is gay, hoping management will fear a lawsuit for sexual discrimination. But the plan goes awry…

Coco before Chanel (DVD FOREIGN COC)  110 min.  2009. 

After she is left at an orphanage by her father, Gabrielle Chanel works in a tailor shop where she meets, and begins an affair with, millionaire Etienne Balsan. Baron Balsan introduces her into French society and gives her the opportunity to design hats. Her career takes off, but her personal life becomes complicated when she falls in love with Balsan's former friend Arthur Capel.

Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky (DVD FOREIGN COC)  119 min.  2009. 

By the 1920s, Coco Chanel has established herself in the fashion world. After a disastrous reaction to a production of his Rite of Spring ballet, Igor Stravinsky is a penniless refugee living in exile. When the two are introduced, the attraction is immediate and together they embark on an affair, which results in a period of great artistic achievement for both artists.

Code Unknown (DVD FOREIGN COD)  113 min.  2000. 

On a Paris street corner, four separate lives intersect, weaving together the lives of a promising actress, her photojournalist boyfriend, a teacher of African descent, and a Romanian illegal immigrant, creating a portrait of life in a fractured, lonely world.

Comedy of Power (DVD FOREIGN COM)  110 min.  2006. 

After locking up an embezzling CEO, Jeanne pushes the limits of her power even further and winds up in a dangerous game of threats and intimidation.

La Commune (Paris 1871) (DVD FOREIGN COM)  76 min.  2000. 

Poor, working-class Parisians rose up against the "bourgeois" French government, which fled the capital and moved to Versailles. As the historical drama unfolded, it was "covered" by two television news crews - one from "National TV Versailles," which broadcast the official version and the other from "Commune TV," giving voice to the rebellious Communards.

Confidentially Yours (DVD FOREIGN CON)  110 min.  1983. 

A businessman accused of murdering his wife and her lover hides in his office to avoid capture. His secretary, who is secretly in love with him, must save him.

The Conquest (DVD FOREIGN CON)  105 min. 2011. 

This film views Nicolas Sarkozy's rise to the French presidency through the lens of his unraveling marriage to then-wife Cecilia. The future president is shown as a bold and unashamed virtuoso of political combat, whose inattention to his disintegrating domestic partnership emerges as his chief vulnerability.

Coteau Rouge (DVD FOREIGN COT)  86 min.  2012. 

Four generations of the Blanchard family live in a popular neighborhood in Longueuil under the watchful eye of patriarch Honore Blanchard, a retired fisherman who used to make extra money by disposing of corpses.

Les Cousins (DVD FOREIGN COU)  112 min.  1959. 

Claude Chabrol crafts a moral fable about a provincial boy who comes to live with his sophisticated bohemian cousin in Paris. Through these seeming opposites, Chabrol conjures a character study that questions notions of good and evil, love and jealousy, and success. A mirror image of Le Beau Serge, Les Cousins recasts that film's stars in reversed roles.

Cry of the Heart (Le Cri du Coeur) (DVD FOREIGN CRY)  97 min.  1974. 

Love is hard, especially for a single mother with a spoiled child. When their home is torn by divorce, it seems like the end of the world, but when broken hearts mend and the single mother tries to start anew, she faces the resentment of her son and the prejudices of society. Can she begin a new life as her boy struggles with his teenage, sexual fascinations?

Cyrano de Bergerac (DVD FOREIGN CYR)  138 min.  1990. 

In 17th-century Paris, a long-nosed poet and swordsman helps his friend win the girl he himself loves.

D13-U. District 13 Ultimatum (DVD FOREIGN D13)  101 min.  2009. 

Two years have passed since police officer Damien Tomasso teamed up with reformed vigilante Leito to save District 13, a racially charged ghetto of drug-dealing gangs and killers. Despite government promises to maintain order, the district has deteriorated. Corrupt cops and officials conspire to cash in on the redevelopment. Damian and Leito must join forces again.

Daddy Nostalgia (DVD FOREIGN DAD)  112 min.  1990. 

The estranged daughter of a screenwriter rushes home to her ill father to come to terms with her feelings for him.

Dancer in the Dark (DVD FOREIGN DAN)  141 min.  2000. 

A rural American factory worker, Selma, is losing her eyesight from a hereditary disease. To protect her son from the same disease, she is saving her money to get him an operation. But a neighbor betrays her trust, and her life spirals out of control.

Danton (DVD FOREIGN DAN)  136 min.  1982. 

Georges Danton, the popular revolutionary leader, returns to Paris at a time when the new Republic is in disarray. Robespierre and his allies have set up a monstrous dictatorship, beginning the infamous "Reign of Terror." Danton pleads with the people for an end to the bloodshed that violates the spirit of their revolution.

Day for Night (DVD FOREIGN DAY)  116 min.  1973. 

The leading lady is recovering from a nervous breakdown, another performer is soused on the set, trade unions threaten to walk, shooting must somehow finish before the insurance lapses and a cat needed in a scene can't hit its mark. Is this any way to make a movie? Day for Night is François Truffaut's sly humorous bouquet to movies and the people who make them.

Days of Glory (DVD FOREIGN DAY)  125 min.  2006. 

A WWII French Algerian Unit fought its way across Europe while battling discrimination within. The French armed forces prepare to land troops in Europe to reclaim their homeland from the Axis Powers, but they cannot accomplish this without recruiting men from their African colonies. The Africans start their journey full of hope, but as they approach their goal, they realize that their enemy is not necessarily the Germans. A Cannes Film Festival winner, an Academy Award nominee.

Declaration of War (DVD FOREIGN DEC)  100 min.  2011. 

When their young son is diagnosed with a brain tumor, Roméo and Juliette unite in the fight for his survival.

The Decline of the American Empire (DVD FOREIGN DEC)  102 min.  1986. 

Four male university teachers gather to prepare a dinner. They discuss sex, females, and their affairs. Their dinner guests are at a health gym discussing sex, the female body, and men. Later they meet for dinner where candid conversations, revelations, confrontation, and sex begin.

Delicacy (DVD FOREIGN DEL)  105 min.  2011. 

After the death of her soul mate, Nathalie loses interest in life and finds love again in the most unexpected place.

Delicatessen (DVD FOREIGN DEL)  99 min.  1991. 

In a futuristic society where meat is a rare commodity, a delicatessen serves up its customers as a nutritious replacement.

Les Destinées (DVD FOREIGN DES)  173 min.  2001. 

Jean, heir to a Limoges porcelain factory, divorces his wife but gives his fortune to her. He remarries but is asked to return to run the factory. His responsibilities, plus fighting in the Great War, change him and his relationship with his new wife.

Le Deuxieme Souffle (DVD FOREIGN DEU)  144 min.  1966. 

A French criminal, recently escaped from prison and trying to pull off a robbery, is chased by an inspector.

Diabolique (DVD FOREIGN DIA)  116 min.  1954. 

A headmaster brutalizes his wife and his mistress. The women murder him and dump his body in a swimming pool; when the pool is drained, no corpse is found.

The Diary of a Chambermaid (DVD FOREIGN DIA)  98 min.  1964. 

In the 1930s, a chambermaid with Paris flair gets a job at a country estate. The family and the other staff members are strange, and she must adjust to country living and neighbor rivalry. After a child is murdered, she is suspicious as to who may be responsible.

Diary of a Country Priest (DVD FOREIGN DIA)  115 min.  1950. 

A new priest arrives in a French village to attend to his first parish. The rural congregation rejects him immediately. Through his country diary entries, the suffering young man relays a crisis of faith that threatens to drive him away from the village and God.

The Dinner Game (DVD FOREIGN DIN)  81 min.  1998. 

Pierre and his snobbish friends have a standing date for dinner every week, competing to see who can bring the biggest idiot to the party.

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (DVD FOREIGN DIS)  101, 98 min.  1972. 

An upper-class sextet assembles for a dinner party, but when they try to eat, a vaudevillian mixture of events thwarts them.

The Disenchanted (DVD FOREIGN DIS)  78 min.  2001. 

Beth is a young Parisian girl whose boyfriend, during an argument, dares her to bed the ugliest man she can find. It becomes a test of love, courage, and will.

Diva (DVD FOREIGN DIV)  123 min.  1981. 

Jules, a young mail courier, is an impassioned fan of Cynthia Hawkins, a legendary, and determinedly unrecorded opera star. He smuggles a tape recorder into a performance and tapes her singing. At the same time, a prostitute hides a tape recording that details the career of a French mobster in Jules' delivery bag. Dizzying chases and bizaare plot twists follow, as Jules is pursued through Paris.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (DVD FOREIGN DIV)  In French, English, or Spanish, with French, English, or Spanish captions.  112 min.  2007. 

The French editor of Elle magazine, Jean-Dominique Bauby, in 1995, at the age of 43, suffered a stroke that paralyzed all but his left eye. Blinking his memoir, Bauby described the torment of being trapped inside his body and shared stories from his imagination.

Domain (DVD FOREIGN DOM)  110 min.  2012. 

On the edge of adulthood, 17-year-old Pierre is obsessed with his aunt Nadia. A flamboyant mathematician whose intellect clashes with her alcoholism and fatalistic views, Nadia is on a path to self-destruct. As Pierre discovers his budding sexuality, he attempts to rescue his aunt from herself, resulting in a dark, sexy mediation on the intersection of two lives with different trajectories.

Don Juan (DVD FOREIGN DON)  91 min.  1998. 

The nobleman Don Juan is on the run from two brothers for abandoning their sister before marriage. With no signs of repentance, Don Juan continues his amorous conquests with women he meets along the way, regardless of the consequences.

La Donation (DVD FOREIGN DON)  95 min.  2010. 

Dr. Rainville, a country doctor with a deep attachment to his patients, is about to retire and is looking for a successor. Jeanne Dion, an emergency room doctor from Montreal, agrees to replace him for a few weeks, with no plans to stay. Then Dr. Rainville suddenly dies.

Donkey Skin (DVD FOREIGN DON)  89 min.  1970, restored in 2003. 

A princess flees marriage to her father by wearing his prize donkey skin as a disguise. When a neighboring prince comes to town, a romance is born.

Double Life of Veronique (DVD FOREIGN DOU)  In French and Polish, with English captions.  97 min.  1991. 

Weronika is a Polish choir soprano, and her double, Véronique, is a French music teacher. Though they are unknown to each other, the two women share an enigmatic, purely emotional bond.

Le Doulos (DVD FOREIGN DOU)  109 min.  1962. 

In gangster slang, 'doulos' means 'hat.' In the slang shared by criminals and police, 'doulos' designates its wearer: the informer. Through back streets of Paris, two underworld characters encounter a deadly entanglement of their own making. Faugel, a thief released from prison, and Silien, his best friend and suspicious character, are up against shady nightclub owner Nuttheccio and the police's Capt. Clain, ruthless as a criminal. The gangsters know two things: their honor is all they can take to the grave, and that date is coming all too soon. This film by Jean-Pierre Melville is full of shadows, night, trench coats, guns, tough guys, cigarettes, slinky dames, cocktail bars, crooked cops, betrayal, and loot.

Dreams of Dust (DVD FOREIGN DRE)  86 min.  2006. 

A Nigerien peasant comes looking for work in Essakane, a dusty gold mine in northeast Burkina Faso, Africa. He quickly finds out the gold rush ended twenty years before and the inhabitants of this wasteland manage to exist simply from force of habit.


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