I am a lover of French indie films and foreign films in general. There are two types of people--those who love French films completely, or those who hate them. It's like Marmite. French films of the Impressionist movement are strange, quiet and moving: a sharp contrast to American films. So a lot of Americans tend to not like them. Here are some of the films I've loved and that I recommend to you all. They're in no particular order!

Teenager Hubert haughtily regards his mother with contempt, and only sees her tacky sweaters and kitsch decorations. In addition to these irritating surface details, there is also his parent's cherished mechanisms of manipulation and guilt. Confused by this love/hate relationship that obsesses him more and more each day, Hubert drifts through the mysteries of adolescence - artistic discoveries, illicit experiences, the opening-up to friendship, and ostracism. The turbulent relationship between mother and son unfolds with a compelling combination of savage fury and melting affection. The stunning, semi-autobiographical directing debut of 20-year-old actor Xavier Dolan. Written by Warsaw Film Festival

Xavier Dolan, a Quebecois film-maker wrote, directed and starred in his first film based on his teenager years. The story focuses on the main character Hubert and his mother. I loved this film so much for its beautiful cinematography, its fitting music and its perfect dialogue. I related a lot to Hubert's relationship with his mum and this story itself has inspired me to write and even want to film some of my own films. I know that some of you won't like this, or may think it's overdone or whatever and if that's the case, then OK. Xavier Dolan is my favourite director, and I was so...touched that his relationship with his mother is a lot like mine. Some of the dialogue was word-to-word from my actual life, and I was able to relate to this so much. One of my top five favourite films ever. I think this is tied for first with My Neighbour Totoro (#5).
note: this does have a bit of homosexuality, as the main character is gay, but that's not what the film is about so if that bothers you, you should still watch it.

2. Le Temps qui reste  (Time to Leave)

Romain is a very successful fashion photographer who's diagnosed with terminal cancer. He copes by being cruel and nasty to those he loves, until a visit with his grandmother changes his outlook. But, his boyfriend's moved out, now what?

Like many French films, this one is full of metaphors too. You can look at the poster for this one and see Romain holding a baby--that's himself when he was younger. That he's shirtless is also a metaphor comparing himself to a baby--as people tend to revert to their childhoods at death. It's an honest film and it didn't end in the way I would have liked for it to have ended, but it's still beautiful. I loved it. It reminded me why exactly I love French cinema, and made me think of my own life. Beautifully reflective, and universal, this film is a must-see.

3. Primos (2011)

After Diego is dumped at the altar, he and his primos (cousins) head to the seaside village where they spent their childhood summers. Diego falls in love each time he has sex, unable to make decisions or be alone. He even tells an old flame 'Te pre-quiero' ('I pre-love you'), unable to take things slowly. Meanwhile, Jose Miguel, always on the verge of an anxiety attack, is engaged to a hysterical woman and Julian always ends up in complicated situations with difficult girlfriends. Part free-wheeling merry-go-round ride, part stroll down memory lane, this comedy is also a beautiful tribute to cinema in interferences to great films and directors, that are mumbled by the alcoholic owner of the town's video rental store. Highly talented director-storyteller Daniel Sanchez Arevalo, and his cast of contemporary Spanish cinema's brightest stars, will takeus on a seaside holiday in the Teatro Antico, as we dive into laughter and new love.  (from Amazon)

This is one of my most favourite films every because it is cute and hilarious in every single line. I dunno how many times I've re-watched this, but it is beautifully hilarious. Definitely a feel-good romantic comedy--a genre I usually dislike, but this film changes my mind on that. I highly recommend this one!

4. Nobody Knows (2004)

In a small Tokyo apartment, twelve-year-old Akira must care for his younger siblings after their mother leaves them and shows no sign of returning (IMDb)

I watched this when I was in seventh grade. I was on a Netflix-high and there were so many good films I hadn't seen. I watched this one and was stunned by its beautiful simplicity, it's minimal style and it's profound impact on me. I have never forgotten this film--it's ingrained in my mind ever since I first watched it. I was in my dark room, drinking tea with this film playing on my laptop. It was...amazing. The characters barely say anything, but the cinematography speaks volumes. Akira is forced to grow up and take care of his siblings with little money and no adult help. This is not a feel-good film, but an honest one.

5. My Neighbour Totoro (1988)
When two girls move to the country to be near their ailing mother, they have adventures with the wondrous forest spirits who live nearby.

This is one of the first films I ever remember watching. I think it was the first. My uncle gave it to me on video cassette and whenever I wanted to watch something, I'd push it into the cassette player and watch it. My friends have told me that they see a lot of me in that film, so I believe it's been key in shaping who I am. I grew up believing that spirits were in everything. It's kind of because of my Hindu upbringing (My mother would tell me to water the plants, and that if I watered them, they would thank me and bless me). I was a serious environmentalist in elementary school and I enjoyed rain and nature so much that I considered becoming a tree spirit, which is impossible, but I dreamed of it. This is a beautiful film, very nostalgic, but very inspiring and cute and friendly and warm. I know it's a "children's film", but my mum enjoyed it as much as I did. I think it's a film for all ages and that if you haven't watched it yet, you HAVE to. It's my number 1 film, always.

Films I've Watched That I've Enjoyed Since I Started Keeping Count:
Laurence Anyways
Dans la Maison (In the House)
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Before Your Eyes
Butterfly's Tongue
The Hedgehog
On the Way to School
The Women on the 6th Floor
Yves Saint Laurent
Haute Cuisine

Childhood Favs:
- The Red Rabbit
- The Secret Garden (1993)
- My Neighbour Totoro


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