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French Classics

From the New Wave to poetic realism and cinéma vérité, French cinema takes many forms and offers endless delights.

Our subscription collection serves up the perfect primer, featuring undisputed masterpieces and provocative classics.

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Enjoy subscription-only classic and cult films from across the decades.  Free for 14 days, then £4.99 a month - cancel any time

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One Deadly SummerOne Deadly Summer

Crime1983134 minsDirector: Jean Becker

A summer of love turns into a dark tale of revenge. This compelling film by Jean Becker features a stunning Isabelle Adjani in one of her most extraordinary performances.

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AlphavilleAlphaville

Detective drama196599 minsDirector: Jean-Luc Godard

Jean-Luc Godard’s venture into sci-fi pits secret agent Lemmy Caution (Eddie Constantine) on a mission to destroy the malevolent supercomputer, Alpha 60.

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Le MéprisLe Mépris

Drama1963103 minsDirector: Jean-Luc Godard

Jean-Luc Godard conducts an autopsy of love and the creative process, as a boorish film producer dismantles a seemingly strong marriage.

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GirlhoodGirlhood

Drama2014113 minsDirector: Céline Sciamma

In the tough suburbs of Paris, sixteen-year-old Marieme decides to reinvent herself when she joins a girl gang.

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TomboyTomboy

Drama201182 minsDirector: Céline Sciamma

Tender drama from Céline Sciamma (Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Girlhood) about a ten-year-old child exploring a new gender identity.

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RomanceRomance

Drama199998 minsDirector: Catherine Breillat

Shockingly explicit, Catherine Breillat’s critically acclaimed Romance is one of the most controversial films of modern cinema.

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Rust and BoneRust and Bone

Drama2012123 minsDirector: Jacques Audiard

Rust and Bone is as punchy and abrasive as its title suggests – but intensely moving and surprisingly poetic too.

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A Prophet (Un prophète)A Prophet (Un prophète)

Crime2009156 minsDirector: Jacques Audiard

Jacques Audiard’s award-winning crime drama chronicles the rites of passage and eventual rise to power of a young French Arab. Tough, taut, truthful.

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DheepanDheepan

Drama2015115 minsDirector: Jacques Audiard

Jacques Audiard’s soul-stirring Palme d’Or winner tells of a veteran Tamil Tiger guerrilla who finds fresh violence in his new life in Paris.

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Breathless / À bout de souffleBreathless / À bout de souffle

Film noir196090 minsDirector: Jean-Luc Godard

Jean-Luc Godard’s extraordinary debut feature, an insouciant and iconoclastic crime film that paved the way for the French New Wave.

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La ChinoiseLa Chinoise

Drama196796 minsDirector: Jean-Luc Godard

“The revolution is not a dinner-party.” Jean-Luc Godard's mix of mordant satire, pedagogical treatise, political tract, and pop-artwork.

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Vivre sa vieVivre sa vie

Drama196283 minsDirector: Jean-Luc Godard

Anna Karina shines in Jean-Luc Godard’s critically acclaimed account of a Parisian woman's slow descent into prostitution.

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La Grande BouffeLa Grande Bouffe

Comedy1973130 minsDirector: Marco Ferreri

Marco Ferreri's provocative and controversial satire about four friends who retreat to a country mansion with the intention of eating themselves to death.

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Immoral TalesImmoral Tales

Anthology1974103 minsDirector: Walerian Borowczyk

Walerian Borowczyk presents four stories of sexual taboos throughout the ages, in his highly controversial classic of 1970s erotic cinema.

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The BeastThe Beast

Comedy197598 minsDirector: Walerian Borowczyk

An outrageous classic of erotic cinema, Walerian Borowczyk’s playful and subversive fantasy finds a horny heiress courting the ravenous desires of a wild beast.

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Eyes without a FaceEyes without a Face

Horror196090 minsDirector: Georges Franju

Georges Franju’s gorgeous, poetic horror film about a surgeon’s dark obsession with restoring his daughter’s disfigured face.

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Belle de JourBelle de Jour

Drama1967100 minsDirector: Luis Buñuel

Luis Buñuel's provocative classic about a bored and neglected housewife (Catherine Deneuve) risks her reputation to take up a daring new hobby.

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The Discreet Charm of the BourgeoisieThe Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie

Comedy197297 minsDirector: Luis Buñuel

Luis Buñuel's Oscar®-winning black comedy follows a group of wealthy friends who, for increasingly absurd and fanciful reasons, cannot manage to have a meal.

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Le cercle rougeLe cercle rouge

Crime1970135 minsDirector: Jean-Pierre Melville

Jean-Pierre Melville 's magisterial, epic heist movie centring on on the preparation, execution and aftermath of a lengthy, daring and meticulously planned jewel-robbery.

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Army of ShadowsArmy of Shadows

War1969139 minsDirector: Jean-Pierre Melville

A faithful adaptation of Joseph Kessel’s celebrated novel about the French Resistance, this is also Melville’s most profoundly personal film.

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Le DoulosLe Doulos

Film noir1963105 minsDirector: Jean-Pierre Melville

The first in Jean-Pierre Melville’s great series of thrillers is a dazzlingly intricate tale of deadly suspicion and betrayal.

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Pauline at the BeachPauline at the Beach

Drama198295 minsDirector: Eric Rohmer

Eric Rohmer's final collaboration with the great cinematographer Nestor Almendros follows a holidaying teenager as she begins to navigate the adult world.

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The Green RayThe Green Ray

Drama198699 minsDirector: Eric Rohmer

Eric Rohmer's masterpiece about a woman chasing romance and adventure during a long, hot summer.

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The Aviator's WifeThe Aviator's Wife

Drama1980106 minsDirector: Eric Rohmer

A bittersweet fable about a young man's jealous pursuits; the first film in Eric Rohmer's six-film series, Comedies and Proverbs.

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Trans-Europ-ExpressTrans-Europ-Express

Thriller196695 minsDirector: Alain Robbe-Grillet

This stylish, cult 1966 erotic thriller stars French New Wave icons Jean-Louis Trintigant and Marie-France Pisier.

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Successive Slidings of PleasureSuccessive Slidings of Pleasure

Drama1974106 minsDirector: Alain Robbe-Grillet

Alain Robbe-Grillet’s serpentine erotic mystery presented as a surreal investigation into a woman with feared sexual powers.

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Eden and AfterEden and After

Drama196998 minsDirector: Alain Robbe-Grillet

Alain Robbe-Grillet’s sensual fantasy follows a group of students who enter a bizarre sado-masochistic realm after taking a mysterious drug.

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Shoah (First Era)Shoah (First Era)

Documentary1985274 minsDirector: Claude Lanzmann

Claude Lanzmann's monumental chronicle of the Holocaust has been acclaimed by many as the greatest documentary ever made.

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Shoah (Second Era)Shoah (Second Era)

Documentary1985293 minsDirector: Claude Lanzmann

Claude Lanzmann's monumental chronicle of the Holocaust has been acclaimed by many as the greatest documentary ever made.

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Two in the WaveTwo in the Wave

Documentary200992 minsDirector: Emmanuel Laurent

Jean Luc-Godard and Francois Truffaut: the story of a friendship, a break-up and the birth of a new cinematic movement that would sweep the world.

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OrphéeOrphée

Drama195096 minsDirector: Jean Cocteau

Magical retelling of the Orpheus myth by poet, playwright, artist and filmmaker Jean Cocteau.

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La Belle et la BêteLa Belle et la Bête

Fantasy194695 minsDirector: Jean Cocteau

Jean Cocteau’s ravishingly restored 1946 film is a cinematic classic. “Five stars. [This] magical exploration of the fairytale is a compelling and bizarre masterpiece” – Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

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Les Enfants TerriblesLes Enfants Terribles

Drama1949106 minsDirector: Jean-Pierre Melville

Jean-Pierre Melville’s film of Jean Cocteau's controversial novel about a teenage brother and sister and their intense, closeted relationship.

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The Valley (Obscured by Clouds)The Valley (Obscured by Clouds)

Drama1972105 minsDirector: Barbet Schroeder

Different worlds collide when a chic young diplomat's wife meets an intriguing adventurer and his hippy friends in Barbet Schroeder's striking second feature.

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MoreMore

Drama1969116 minsDirector: Barbet Schroeder

The first feature by Barbet Schroeder (Maîtresse, The Valley), More created a sensation when it was released in 1969, quickly becoming a cult classic and famed for its Pink Floyd soundtrack.

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MaitresseMaitresse

Drama1976113 minsDirector: Barbet Schroeder

Gerard Depardieu plays the young innocent who falls for the mysterious maitresse Ariane (Bulle Ogier), a leather clad dominatrix, in Barbet Schroeder’s controversial film.

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Irma VepIrma Vep

Drama199699 minsDirector: Olivier Assayas

Olivier Assayas' sexy and stylish ode to the madness of filmmaking, with Maggie Cheung as the Hong Kong movie star playing a Catwoman-style anti-heroine.

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Betty BlueBetty Blue

Drama1986185 minsDirector: Jean-Jacques Beineix

Jean-Jacques Beineix’s story of a volatile, highly sexual relationship was one of the most successful French films of the 1980s.

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Fantastic PlanetFantastic Planet

Animation & Artists Moving Image197372 minsDirector: René Laloux

René Laloux and Roland Topor’s surreal, psychedelic sci-fi animation imagines a world in which humanoid creatures are kept as pets by a race of giants.

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The Passion of Joan of ArcThe Passion of Joan of Arc

Biopic192780 minsSilentDirector: Carl Th. Dreyer

An incontestable masterpiece of silent cinema, Carl Dreyer's deeply moving biopic features one of the most powerful performances ever captured on film.

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La Règle du jeuLa Règle du jeu

Drama1939102 minsDirector: Jean Renoir

Renoir's depiction of an intransigent society teetering towards disaster was derided upon release and only later acclaimed as one of cinema’s most vital films.

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Partie de campagnePartie de campagne

Period drama193639 minsDirector: Jean Renoir

On a country picnic, a young girl leaves her family for a while and succumbs to an all-too-brief romance in Jean Renoir's sensuous tribute to the countryside.

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Celine and Julie Go BoatingCeline and Julie Go Boating

Drama1974194 minsDirector: Jacques Rivette

Jacques Rivette’s biggest commercial hit is an exhilarating combination of theatricality, paranoia and ‘la vie parisienne’, around an entrancing examination of making and watching films.

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Paris Nous AppartientParis Nous Appartient

Drama1961142 minsDirector: Jacques Rivette

Remarkable first feature from cinematic visionary Jacques Rivette, brilliantly capturing the mood of paranoia and uncertainty of the Cold War period.

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