My favorite French directors

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1.
Robert Bresson
Robert Bresson trained as a painter before moving into films as a screenwriter, making a short film (atypically a comedy), Public Affairs in 1934. After spending more than a year as a German POW during World War II, he made his debut with Angels of Sin in 1943. His next film, Les dames du Bois de Boulogne would be the last time he would work with professional actors...
“ Favorite film: Lancelot du lac ” - orfeasv
 
2.
Jean-Luc Godard
Director, My Life to Live
Jean-Luc Godard was born in Paris on December 3, 1930, the second of four children in a bourgeois Franco-Swiss family. His father was a doctor who owned a private clinic, and his mother came from a preeminent family of Swiss bankers. During World War II Godard became a naturalized citizen of Switzerland and attended school in Nyons (Switzerland)...
“ Favorite film: Le petit soldat ” - orfeasv
 
3.
“ Favorite film: Son Frère ” - orfeasv
 
4.
Jacques Rivette
Although François Truffaut has written that the New Wave began "thanks to Rivette," the films of this masterful French director are not well known. Rivette, like his "Cahiers du Cinéma" colleagues Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Claude Chabrol and Éric Rohmer, did graduate to filmmaking but, like Rohmer...
“ Favorite film: Merry-go-round ” - orfeasv
 
5.
“ Favorite film: Le lit de la vierge ” - orfeasv
 
6.
Jean Renoir
Son of the famous Impressionist painter Pierre Auguste, he had a happy childhood. Pierre Renoir was his brother, and Claude Renoir was his nephew. After the end of World War I, where he won the Croix de Guerre, he moved from scriptwriting to filmmaking. He married Catherine Hessling, for whom he began to make movies; he wanted to make a star of her...
“ Favorite film: La règle du jeu ” - orfeasv
 
7.
Jean Cocteau
Jean Cocteau was one of the most multi-talented artists of the 20th century. In addition to being a director, he was a poet, novelist, painter, playwright, set designer, and actor. He began writing at 10 and was a published poet by age 16. He collaborated with the "Russian Ballet" company of Sergei Diaghilev...
“ Favorite film: Orphée ” - orfeasv
 
8.
“ Favorite film: Hiroshima mon amour ” - orfeasv
 
9.
François Truffaut
François began to assiduously go to the movies at 7. He was also a great reader but not a good pupil. He left school at 14 and started working. In 1947, aged 15, he founded a film club and met André Bazin, a French critic, who becomes his protector. Bazin helped the delinquent Truffaut and also when he was put in jail because he deserted the army...
“ Favorite film: Jules et Jim ” - orfeasv
 
10.
“ Favorite film: Les chansons d'amour ” - orfeasv
 
11.
“ Favorite film: Un coeur en hiver ” - orfeasv
 
12.
René Clément
Director, Forbidden Games
René Clément was one of the leading French directors of the post-World War II era. He directed what are regarded as some of the greatest films of the time, such as The Battle of the Rails, Forbidden Games and The Day and the Hour. He was later almost forgotten as a director. He was back in public attention briefly when his epic Is Paris Burning? (with an all-star cast of famous actors) was released in 1966...
“ Favorite film: Jeux interdits ” - orfeasv
 
13.
“ Favorite film: Les parapluies de Cherbourg ” - orfeasv
 
14.
“ Favorite film: Le bonheur ” - orfeasv
 
15.
Jean Genet
Writer, Querelle
Jean-Paul Sartre likens Jean Genet to a saint for a very particular reason, a reason that is apparent in the title of the biography, but which does not translate in the English title--"Saint Genet: Actor and Martyr"--because meaning and referentiality are lost. The French title is "Saint Genet: Comédien et Martyr"; the phrase "Saint Genet" evokes the memory of St...
“ Favorite film: Un chant d'amour ” - orfeasv
 
16.
“ Favorite film: Les maîtres fous ” - orfeasv
 
17.
Claude Chabrol
Director, La Cérémonie
French film director considered a master in the mystery genre. He is credited with starting the "nouvelle vague" French film movement.
“ Favorite film: Une affaire de femmes ” - orfeasv
 
18.
Éric Rohmer
Admirers have always had difficulty explaining Éric Rohmer's "Je ne sais quoi." Part of the challenge stems from the fact that, despite his place in French Nouvelle Vague (i.e., New Wave), his work is unlike that of his colleagues. While this may be due to the auteur's unwillingness to conform, some have argued convincingly that...
“ Favorite film: Ma nuit chez Maud ” - orfeasv
 
19.
Jean-Pierre Melville
Writer, Le Samouraï
The name "Melville" is not immediately associated with film. It conjures up images of white whales and crackbrained captains, of naysaying notaries and soup-spilling sailors. It is the countersign to a realm of men and their deeds, both heroic and villainous. It is the American novel, with its Ishmaels and its Claggarts a challenge to the European canon...
“ Favorite film: Le samouraï ” - orfeasv
 
20.
Henri-Georges Clouzot
Writer, Diabolique
After a decade as a screenwriter, Clouzot made his directorial debut in 1942. His next film, Le Corbeau: The Raven had the distinction of being banned both by the Nazis and the victorious French forces for differing reasons. He shot to international fame with The Wages of Fear and consolidated that success with Diabolique...
“ Favorite film: Le salaire de la peur ” - orfeasv
 
21.
Louis Malle
Louis Malle, the descendant of a French nobleman who made a fortune in beet sugar during the Napoleonic Wars, created films that explored life and its meaning. Malle's family discouraged his early interest in film but, in 1950, allowed him to enter the Institute of Advanced Cinematographic Studies in Paris...
“ Favorite film: Le feu follet ” - orfeasv
 
22.
Marcel Carné
Marcel Carné, the son of a cabinet maker, entered the movies as the assistant of Jacques Feyder. At the age of 25 he directed his first movie Jenny. Colaborating with the writer Jacques Prévert, the decorator Alexandre Trauner, the musician and composer Maurice Jaubert and the actor Jean Gabin...
“ Favorite film: Les enfants du paradis ” - orfeasv
 
23.
“ Favorite film: À nous la liberté ” - orfeasv
 
24.
“ Favorite film: Adieu Philippine ” - orfeasv
 
25.
“ Favorite film: La maman et la putain ” - orfeasv
 
26.
“ Favorite film: Le lieu du crime ” - orfeasv
 
27.
“ Favorite film: Le clan ” - orfeasv
 
28.
“ Favorite film: Le temps qui reste ” - orfeasv
 
29.
“ Favorite film: Beau travail ” - orfeasv
 
30.
“ Favorite film: Melvil ” - orfeasv
 
31.
Jacques Audiard
Writer, A Prophet
Born in Paris, France, in 1952. Jacques Audiard's family has always been involved in movie business. His father, Michel, was a popular screenwriter and director and his uncle a producer. But in his teens he refused that world and wanted to be a teacher. He studied literature and philosophy at the Sorbonne but didn't finish his degree...
“ Favorite film: Un prophète ” - orfeasv
 
32.
“ Favorite film: L'emploi du temps ” - orfeasv
 
33.
“ Favorite film: Je t'aime moi non plus ” - orfeasv
 
34.
Jacques Tati
The comic genius Jacques Tati was born Taticheff, descended from a noble Russian family. His grandfather, Count Dimitri, had been a general in the Imperial Army and had served as military attaché to the Russian Embassy in Paris. His father, Emmanuel Taticheff, was a well-to-do picture framer who conducted his business in the fashionable Rue de Castellane and had taken a Dutch-Italian woman...
“ Favorite film: Playtime ” - orfeasv
 
35.
“ Favorite film: Tokyo eyes ” - orfeasv
 
36.
“ Favorite film: La guerre des boutons ” - orfeasv
 
37.
“ Favorite film: La piscine ” - orfeasv
 
38.
Romain Goupil
Politically committed to the left, Romain Goupil, born in 1951, is the most eloquent representative of the spirit of the revolution of May 1968. From his first feature in 1982, Mourir à 30 ans to his latest to date Hands Up, he has managed to remain faithful to his ideals, quite a feat if you think of all of his fellow revolutionaries who have changed sides...
“ Favorite film: Mourir à Madrid ” - orfeasv
 
39.
Marguerite Duras
Ms. Duras was born in southern Vietnam and lost her father at age 4. The family savings of 20 years bought the family a small plot in Cambodia, but everything was lost in a single season's flooding. The disaster killed her mother as a result. After high school in Saigon, Ms. Duras left Indochina to study law in Paris...
“ Favorite film: India song ” - orfeasv
 
40.
Alain Robbe-Grillet
Born in Brest, France, in 1922, Alain Robbe-Grillet initially studied mathematics and biology. He graduated from the Paris-based Institut National Agronomique (National Institute of Agronomy) in 1945 and embarked on a career of scientific research in the tropics and in France. Then at age 30 he decided to change the direction of his career and concentrate on the thorny problem of literature...
“ Favorite film: L'homme qui ment ” - orfeasv
 
41.
“ Favorite film: La planète sauvage ” - orfeasv
 
42.
“ Favorite film: Loulou ” - orfeasv
 
43.
Georges Franju
Georges Franju is a figure of immense importance in the history of French cinema, not primarily for his films (exceptional though many of these are) but for being the co-founder, with Henri Langlois, of the Cinematheque Française in 1937--France's most famous and important film archive. He worked primarily as a film archivist until 1949...
“ Favorite film: Les yeux sans visage ” - orfeasv
 
44.
“ Favorite film: Les corps impatients ” - orfeasv
 
45.
Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Director, Amélie
Jean-Pierre Jeunet is a self-taught director who was very quickly interested by cinema, with a predilection for a fantastic cinema where form is as important as the subject. Thus he started directing TV commercials and video clips (such as Julien Clerc in 1984). At the same time he met designer/drawer Marc Caro with whom he made two short animation movies: L'évasion and Le manège...
“ Favorite film: Un long dimanche de fiançailles ” - orfeasv
 
46.
“ Favorite film: La haine ” - orfeasv
 
47.
Cyril Collard
He made only three films in his relatively brief life but Cyril Collard certainly extended his "15 minutes of fame" to near cult status with the release of his last, the bold and unflinching Savage Nights. The notorious French filmmaker, actor, writer, musician and poet was born in 1957 of libertine Parisians who gave him a standard Catholic education in Versailles...
“ Favorite film: Les nuits fauves ” - orfeasv
 
48.
Bertrand Tavernier
Director, 'Round Midnight
Bertrand Tavernier was a law student that preferred write film criticisms. He also wrote a few books about American movies. Then his first film won a few awards in France and abroad and established his reputation.
“ Favorite film: Coup de torchon ” - orfeasv
 
49.
Georges Méliès
Georges Melies, a professional magician by training, first saw the new "moving pictures" in 1895. Little over a year later, Melies was filming and projecting his own creations. By accident, he discovered that he could use stop-motion photography to render trick visual effects. Melies was also the first to use techniques such as the fade-in...
“ Favorite film: Le voyage dans la lune ” - orfeasv
 
50.
Louis Lumière
Although no one will ever come up with a definitive answer as to who invented the cinema (probably because no one single person was responsible), Louis Lumiere has one of the strongest claims to the title - for it was he (with his brother Auguste) who invented the cinematographe: a machine that combined...
“ Favorite film: La pêche aux poissons rouges ” - orfeasv