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.

The Names of Love (DVD FOREIGN NAM)  102 min.  2010. 

Baya is a young liberal who lives by the hippie slogan “Make love, not war.” She seduces right-wing men to convert them to her political causes - and so far she's had good results. Then she meets Arthur, a middle-aged, middle-of-the road scientist, and sparks fly.

Nathalie Granger (DVD FOREIGN NAT)  79 min.  2007. 

Two friends discuss their worries while they engage in everyday domestic duties, masking an undercurrent of lurking danger.

Nenette and Boni (DVD FOREIGN NEN)  99 min.  1996. 

Nineteen year-old Boniface Pavone writes in his journal of the erotic dreams he has of the wife of the neighborhood baker. His estranged little sister, Nenette, reappears with a surprising revelation that will change him forever.

Not on the Lips (DVD FOREIGN NOT)  117 min.  2003. 

Gilberte is happily married to Georges, a wealthy businessman who is unaware of his wife's previous marriage. One day, Georges announces he's striking a deal with a wealthy American who's on his way to Paris and just happens to be Gilberte's ex-husband. Further interpersonal complications result in a series of farcical misunderstandings.

Of Gods and Men (DVD FOREIGN OF)  In French or Arabic, with English or French captions.  123 min.  2010. 

Under threat by fundamentalist terrorists, a group of Trappist monks stationed with an impoverished Algerian community must decide whether to leave or stay. Cannes Film Festival Grand Prize winner in 2010.

On Guard (DVD FOREIGN ON)  128 min.  1997. 

A swordsman vows to avenge the murder of his friend, the Duke of Nevers. He is to raise the Duke's daughter as his own and restore her inheritance.

One Day You’ll Understand (DVD FOREIGN ONE)  90 min.  2008. 

As the 1987 trial of Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie unfolds on television, Victor Bastien reviews old family documents and finds a distressing "Aryan declaration" authored by his late father. This discovery throws Victor's conception of his family's history into darkness. His mother, Rivka, keeps a stubborn silence, while his sister Tania defends their father. To unearth the truth, Victor takes his family to the tiny village where Rivka's parents were forced to hide during the war.

One Deadly Summer (DVD FOREIGN ONE)  130 min.  1983. 

Eliane settles in a French town with her introverted mother and physically handicapped father. Traumatized by the knowledge of her mother’s rape before Eliane’s birth, Eliane persues vengeance when she is courted by a garage mechanic whose father has the clue to the identity of her mother's aggressors. But as the story unfolds, the tale becomes increasingly complex.

Orpheus (DVD FOREIGN ORP)  95 min.  1950. 

This 1950 update of the Orphic myth by Jean Cocteau depicts a poet scorned by the Left Bank youth, and his love for both his wife Eurydice and a mysterious princess. Seeking inspiration, the poet follows the princess from the living world to the land of the dead through Cocteau's mirrored portal. This film shows Cocteau’s skill for visual poetry and dreamlike storytelling.

Oscar et la Dame Rose (DVD FOREIGN OSC)  96 min.  2009. 

Ten-year-old Oscar is hospitalized, and neither the doctors nor his parents have the courage to tell him the truth. After hearing a conversation, he finds out he is dying. Furious, he is silent to all except straight-talking Rose, who delivers pizza to the hospital.

Outside the Law (DVD FOREIGN OUT)  139 min.  2010. 

Three brothers. One destiny. Freedom at all costs. Three brothers fight for Algeria's independence from France after World War II. Nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award.

Paris (DVD FOREIGN PAR)  129 min.  2008. 

Awaiting a heart transplant, Pierre reunites with his sister and her children. His rediscovery of family and observation of the teeming Paris streets give Pierre hope and a sense of how to spend his last days. This is a story about the middle-class and bourgeois, immigrants and students, fashion models and the homeless, and the lovers and strangers whose paths could cross and change in Paris.

Paris, Je T’aime (DVD FOREIGN PAR)  110 min.  2006. 

The world’s top directors and some of America’s top stars create a panoramic portrait of Paris in these sexy, romantic, haunting, dramatic, and beautiful stories.

Park Benches: Life, Lust and Love the Parisian Way (DVD FOREIGN PAR)  114 min.  2009. 

As she does every morning, Lucie joins her colleagues at the office with a smile. It's a working day just like any other. Suddenly all activity stops as workers notice another building’s window and a banner reading 'Man Alone.' Is it a hoax? A cry for help? Everyone has an idea and tries to discover the source of the mysterious message.

Persepolis (DVD FOREIGN PER)  In French or dubbed into English, with English or Spanish captions.  95 min.  2008. 

Based on the graphic novel by Marjane “Marji” Statrapi, this animated film occurs in 1970s Iran. Marji’s family’s dream is realized when the hated Shah is defeated in 1979. Marji refuses to be silent during the new tyranny. Her parents send her abroad to study, which is a difficult trial for Marji in a different culture. Upon her return, she and her homeland have changed, and Marji and her family must decide where she belongs.

The Piano Teacher (DVD FOREIGN PIA)  125 min.  2002. 

A middle-aged classical piano instructor is trapped between her passion for music and her suffocating home life. She escapes her life with nightly voyeuristic wanderings and self-inflicted masochistic experiments.

Pickpocket (DVD FOREIGN PIC)  75 min.  1959. 

Michel, an insignificant man who drifts into crime, is arrested and imprisoned. Upon release, he abandons an attempt at reform when a master pickpocket teaches him his art.

Le Plaisir (DVD FOREIGN PLA)  97 min.  1952. 

In stories of life, love, pleasure, and death, an aging man hides behind a mask to meet ladies, a madame takes her girls to communion, and a painter falls for his model.

Playtime (DVD FOREIGN PLA)  124 min.  1967. 

Modern Paris is a city of glass, steel and the encroaching age of technology. Amidst the babble of tourists, the endearingly clumsy Monsieur Hulot tries to reconcile the old-fashioned ways with the confusing new ways.

Point Blank (DVD FOREIGN POI)  84 min.  2011. 

Samuel is a happily married nurse in a Paris hospital. When his pregnant wife is kidnapped before his eyes, everything falls apart. After being knocked unconscious, his cell phone rings: he has three hours to get a man who is under police surveillance out of the hospital. Samuel is pitted against rival gangsters and police in a race to save the lives of his wife and unborn child.

Poison Friends (DVD FOREIGN POI)  107 min.  2006. 

At the start of the college semester, Eloi and Alexandre meet André. Fascinated by his brilliance, ease, and charisma, they fall under his spell. André offers them friendship in exchange for complete loyalty. Lost in admiration, Eloi and Alexandre submit. Then André abandons them and their only choice is to stand on their own. This film won the 2006 Critics Week Grand prize, the Grand Golden Rail, and SACD Screenwriting Award at the Cannes Film Festival.

Port of Shadows (DVD FOREIGN POR)  90 min.  1938. 

A deserter from the French military drifts into a small town, where he falls for a troubled young woman.

Potiche (DVD FOREIGN POT)  103 min.  2010. 

A housebound trophy housewife steps in to manage the umbrella factory run by her tyrannical husband after the workers go on strike. To everyone's surprise, Suzanne proves herself a competent and assertive woman of action.

Pretty Devils (DVD FOREIGN PRE)  95 min.  2002. 

Sisters and petty criminals, Lea and Aurelie, help an upper class girl wreak vengeance upon her unfaithful boyfriend. When they teach Anne-Sophie the art of the con, the girls find serious trouble.

Priceless (DVD FOREIGN PRI)  102 min.  2006. 

Irene is on the Riviera with her elderly paramour to celebrate her birthday. When he falls asleep, she slips down to the hotel bar and mistakes barman Jean for a wealthy guest. He responds by taking her to the Royal Suite for the night. The next year, it happens again. This time her lover finds out and disowns her. Knowing Jean is a common barman doesn't stop her from caring for him. Jean soon finds a paramour of his own, but he and Irene keep in increasingly close touch.

The Princess of Montpensier (DVD FOREIGN PRI)  140 min.  2010. 

Marie de Mezieres is in love with her cousin Henri de Guise. Due to her father's political ambitions, she is forced to marry the well-connected Philippe de Montpensier, whom she has never met. When Philippe is called away to fight, she is left with Count Chabannes, an aging nobleman. Before long, she is exposed to the sexual and political intrigues of court.

Private Fears in Public Places (DVD FOREIGN PRI)  120 min.  2006. 

Multiple stories are set inside a magically snowbound Paris. Six lonely souls converge and commingle in their search for lasting connections.

Private Property (DVD FOREIGN PRI)  89 min.  2007. 

Pascale lives with her adult twin sons in a Belgian farmhouse. Neither son embraces adulthood or responsibility. Pascale falls in love again, but she can’t erase the shadow of her ex-husband and selfish children. She leaves, and her sons’ resentment and rivalry boils over.

Prix de Beaute (DVD FOREIGN PRI)  88 min.  1930. 

While André indeed loves Lucienne, a Parisian typist, he has conventional expectations for their life together. When the Miss Europe beauty contest comes to town, he warns her to "not even dream" of entering it, but she ignores his advice and tries out.

La Promesse (DVD FOREIGN PRO)  94 min.  2012. 

In this breakthrough feature from Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne, the brothers bring their unerring eye for detail and their compassion for those on society's lowest rungs to an absorbing drama about a teenager who is gradually coming to understand the implications of his father making a living through illegal alien workers.

A Prophet (DVD FOREIGN PRO)  In French, Portuguese or Spanish, with English, Portuguese or Spanish captions.  155 min.  2009. 

Illiterate Malik el Djebena, who is condemned to six years in prison, soon figures out the politics of the prison. Though Malik is only 19-years-old, the leader of the Corsican gang who rules the prison corners him and gives him certain 'missions' to carry out. He quickly gains the confidence of the gang leader, as these assignments begin to toughen him up. But Malik soon develops some plans of his own.

Purple Noon (DVD FOREIGN PUR)  118 min.  1960. 

A wealthy bachelor has a sexy girlfriend, the finest things money can buy, and an envious friend who schemes to murder him and assume his identity.

Queen Margot (DVD FOREIGN QUE)  144 min.  1994. 

Thrown into a political marriage of convenience by her family, the beautiful Margot soon finds herself hopelessly drawn into their murderous affairs. Her only hope of escape lies somewhere between the heroic soldier who loves her and the enemy husband who could save her.

Queen to Play ((DVD FOREIGN QUE)  97 min.  2007. 

Lovely, repressed, and quietly intelligent, French chambermaid Helene comes upon a couple engaged in an intensely sensual chess match, and discovers she has a knack for the game. This obsession, much to the chagrin of her husband and teenage daughter, leads her to seek the clandestine tutelage of a reclusive American doctor, a liaison that transforms both of their lackluster lives.

Rapt (DVD FOREIGN RAP)  125 min.  2011. 

Stanislas Graff, a powerful industrialist, is kidnapped by gangsters in front of his building. So begins a nightmare where he's humiliated, abused, and treated inhumanely. Although he resists, allowing his kidnappers no hold over him, he accepts everything without rebelling, cry or complaint; he responds with dignity to barbarity. Outside, his world collapses when his true nature is revealed.

Rashevski’s Tango (DVD FOREIGN RAS)  In French and Hebrew, with English captions.  97 min.  2003. 

What does it mean to be Jewish? Three generations of the Rashevski family grapple with the question, after the death of Rose, the secular matriarch who believed that the tango would make all troubles disappear. The characters confront issues of relationships, family, religion, love, romance, and interfaith marriage.

Red (DVD FOREIGN RED)  99 min.  1994. 

This is the final installment in the trilogy named after the French flag colors (Red, White and Blue). A woman meets a stranger and is led into intrigue and secrecy.

Regular Lovers (DVD FOREIGN REG)  175 min.  2004. 

This is an intimate, opium-hazed epic shot in achingly beautiful black and white. A student-poet is grappling with the tumult and a doomed romance during the Parisian riots. This film won the 2006 Cesar Award and the Critics Award of the European Film Academy.

Rififi (DVD FOREIGN RIF)  118 min.  1955. 

This is the story of a successful jewel robbery in which the four thieves betray each other.

The Ring Finger (DVD FOREIGN RIN)  100 min.  2005. 

After being fired from a lemonade bottling plant, Iris takes a secretarial position at a laboratory where a perplexing scientist specializes in the preservation of personal mementos. Iris gradually engages in a disturbing love affair with her enigmatic employer.

The Romance of Astrea and Celadon (DVD FOREIGN ROM)  109 min.  2006. 

In an enchanted, mythical forest, two star-crossed lovers are kept apart by their feuding families. Surrounded by rivals, nymphs, and druids, the two must overcome jealousy, temptation, and other worldly obstacles to keep their passion alive.

Romantics Anonymous (DVD FOREIGN ROM)  78 min.  2010. 

Jean-Rene is the boss of a chocolate factory and Angelique is a talented chocolate maker. They are both emotionally challenged. Drawn together through their passion for chocolate, Jean-Rene and Angelique fall in love but are unable to express it. Their shyness is driving them apart. Slowly they overcome their lack of self-confidence and share their feelings.

La Ronde (DVD FOREIGN RON)  97 min.  1950. 

When it comes to matters of infidelity, everyone is considered an equal, whether it's a soldier, a maid, or an aristocrat in 1900's Vienna.

Rosetta (DVD FOREIGN ROS)  93 min.  1999. 

An intense verité drama closely follows a poor young woman struggling to hold onto a job to support herself and her alcoholic mother. It's a swift and simple tale made revelatory by the raw, empathic way in which the directors (Belgian brothers Luc and Jean Pierre Dardenne) render Rosetta's desperation, keeping the camera nearly perched on her shoulder throughout.

The Rules of the Game (DVD FOREIGN RUL)  106 min.  1939. 

This critique of corrupt pre-World War II French society covers a hunting party with amorous escapades among the aristocrats, mirrored by the servants. Unpopular at first release, the film was withdrawn until the late 50s, when a print was found and restored.

Rumba (DVD FOREIGN RUM)  77 min.  2008. 

Fiona and Dom have one passion in their lives besides each other – dancing. When a car accident intervenes, they continue their dreams of competitive dancing.

Russian Dolls (DVD FOREIGN RUS)  129 min.  2005. 

In this sequel to L’Auberge Espagnole, five old friends reunite five years after their summer together in Barcelona.

Safe Conduct (DVD FOREIGN SAF)  165 min.  2001. 

During the Nazi occupation, French life is seen against the background of the French film industry. Two men struggle to maintain their integrity while working for the German-controlled Continental Film Studios.

Les Salades de l'Amour (DVD FOREIGN SAL) 

Through five films (and two decades), Antoine Doinel captivated audiences.  His early theme-defining work is shown, plus insights into the creative processes of the filmmakers. "Les Mistons" 18 min. 1957. A group of pubescent boys' admiration of a young girl takes on an edge of cruelty, with unforeseen results.  "Working with Francois Truffaut" 44 min. 2003.

Le Samourai (DVD FOREIGN SAM)  105 min.  1967. 

Jef Costello is a fedora and trench-coat wearing contract killer with samurai instincts. When Jef assassinates a nighclub owner, he is confronted by a series of witnesses. They drop his perfect world into the hands of a persistent police investigator and Jef's shadowy employer, both of whom are determined to put an end to the career criminal.

Sarah’s Key (DVD FOREIGN SAR)  In French, English, German, or Italian.  111 min.  2011. 

In modern Paris, a journalist’s life becomes entwined with a girl whose family was separated during the notorious Vel d'Hiv round up in Paris in 1942. She stumbles upon a family secret that will link her to a Jewish girl, Sarah.

Scene of the Crime (DVD FOREIGN SCE)  90 min.  1986. 

An escaped convict saves the life of a young teen, which sets the stage for crime and romance between the teen's mother and the convict.

A Screaming Man (DVD FOREIGN SCR)  In French or Arabic, with English captions.  102 min.  2010. 

When a hotel in Chad is taken over by foreign owners, Adam, a former swim champ, is forced to give up his job at the pool to his young son. Meanwhile, the country is at war, and Adam makes a rash decision he will regret.

Un Secret (DVD FOREIGN SEC)  110 min.  2008. 

A young boy who has a vivid imagination dreams up a brother for himself and a better past for his family. On his 15th birthday, he finds his dreams shattered when he uncovers a shocking secret that ties his family to the Holocaust.

The Secrets (DVD FOREIGN SEC)  In Hebrew or French, with English captions.  127 min.  2006. 

While studying at a women's seminary in Safed, Naomi and her new friend explore the complexities of a religious lifestyle in a vibrant environment of youth, rebellion, and desire as they befriend a mysterious older woman.

Seducing Dr. Lewis (DVD FOREIGN SED)  109 min.  2004. 

A ragtag fishing community on a tiny island must persuade a young Montreal-based doctor to live there in order to get a much-needed factory.

Séraphine (DVD FOREIGN SER)  125 min.  2008. 

In this true story of Seraphine Louis, a simple, devout housekeeper in 1905, at the age of 41, who began painting brilliantly colorful canvases. In 1912, a German art critic discovered her paintings while she was his maid. A relationship formed between the dealer and the cleaning lady, forging a testament to the mysteries of creativity and the resilience of one woman's spirit.

Shall We Kiss? (DVD FOREIGN SHA)  102 min.  2010. 

When Gabriel and Emilie meet by chance, he offers her a ride and they spend the evening getting along famously. At night’s end, Emilie declines Gabriel's offer of “a kiss without consequences.” Emilie admonishes him that a kiss could have unexpected consequences, and relates a story about the impossibility of indulging your desires without affecting someone's life.

Shoot the Piano Player (DVD FOREIGN SHO)  84 min.  1960. 

A timid cafe pianist has given up his career as a pianist, which destroyed his marriage. Events force his involvement with gangsters, which again cause him to be responsible for the destruction in his life.

Since Otar Left (DVD FOREIGN SIN)  In Georgian, French, and Russian, with English captions.  99 min.  2003. 

A bittersweet story of three generations of Georgian women in the city of Tbilisi. Eka obsesses over her physician son Otar, while the other two try to deal with her burning desire to see him.

Skirt Day (DVD FOREIGN SKI)  87 min.  2010. 

In this fascinating psychological study and socio-critical investigation, Sonia Bergerac is a teacher at a tough junior high. Despite the principal's warnings, she wears a skirt to work. She simply wants to teach, but the insults are just too much. Scared and taking antidepressants, Sonia finds a gun in a student’s bag. She takes her class hostage so she can teach a proper lesson on Moliere.

The Sleeping Beauty (DVD FOREIGN SLE)  82 min.  2010. 

Cursed at birth by an evil fairy, Anastasia is destined to prick her finger and die at the age of sixteen. When three feckless fairy sisters discover this, they hatch a plan to alter the curse: rather than die, Anastasia will sleep for 100 years and live in a world of dreams. Through her active dream life, Anastasia will find love, loss, and possibly a waking life. French provocateur Breillat continues her deconstruction of classic fairytales with this film.

Small Change (DVD FOREIGN SMA)  In French and Spanish, with captions in English, French, or Spanish; closed-captioned in English.  103 min.  1976. 

This is a comedy about the lives of a group of children in a French village from early childhood to adolescence, exploring their range of emotions.

The Soft Skin (DVD FOREIGN SOF)  118 min.  1964. 

A successful publisher who often travels on business has his first extramarital affair. He is unable to decide between his wife and his mistress. His mistress leaves him, and an ironic, tragic twist of fate cuts short his plans to reconcile his marriage.

The Son (DVD FOREIGN SON)  100 min.  2002. 

Oliver is working as a carpentry instructor in a French suburb. He has an obsession for a new student and offers him friendship and advice, but with a frightening lack of affection. Oliver's connection to the boy is slowly and painfully revealed.

The Sorrow and the Pit: Chronicle of a French Town During Occupation (940.5337 DVD SOR)  In English, French, and German, with English captions.  249 min.  1969. 

This examination of the WWII German occupation of France uses reminiscences of individuals and officials involved in the events at the time – concentrating on the themes of collaboration and resistance.

Special Treatment (DVD FOREIGN SPE)  95 min.  2011. 

Alice is a high-class prostitute who serves up sexual fantasies for her clients, from school girl innocence to S&M. Fed up with the seamy side of French masculinity, she encounters Xavier, a neurotic psychoanalyst facing a marriage crisis. They quickly realize their professions share some commonalities in the overlapping worlds of psychotherapy and sex therapy.

Stolen Kisses (DVD FOREIGN STO)  91 min.  1968. 

This is the third in the Antoine Doinel series and, in many respects, the autobiography of François Truffaut. It's now 1968 and Doinel has been dishonorably discharged from the army and has returned to Paris, where he finally becomes a private detective. In his turbulent love life, he is torn between a serious-minded young violinist and a glamorous, older married woman. The earlier pain of dealing with the world becomes acceptance of life, with which comes openness to its joy.

The Story of Adele H. (DVD FOREIGN STO)  98 min.  2001. 

Based on a true story, Adele Hugo's obsessive love affair led her to leave home to follow her womanizing lover across an ocean to Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Strayed (DVD FOREIGN STR)  95 min.  2003. 

After the German occupation of Paris during World War II, a widow flees the city with her two children and relies on a young stranger in order to survive.

Summer Hours (DVD FOREIGN SUM)  102 min.  2008. 

The divergent paths of three adult siblings collide when their mother, heiress to an exceptional 19th century art collection, dies suddenly.

A Sunday in the Country (DVD FOREIGN SUN)  94 min.  1984. 

A view of family life in pre-World War I France depicts a man and his family who visit his father, an aging Impressionist painter.

Swimming Pool (DVD FOREIGN SWI)  103 min.  2002. 

A British mystery author seeks inspiration for her novel. She visits her publisher's home, where his sexy daughter, Julie, unexpectedly arrives. She is jarred by Julie's lifestyle. A series of events blend a creative process with a possible real-life murder.


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