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Updated by Soubin Nath on Mar 15, 2021
Headline for 10 Best French Films of 21st Century
Soubin Nath Soubin Nath
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10 Best French Films of 21st Century

France has always been a trailblazer for European cinema. To begin with, it played a key role in the birth of film with the Lumière brothers’ shorts, while in the ‘20s it became prominent with the French Impressionist Cinema and in the late 50s a new generation of French directors arrived to turn everything upside down, creating the French New Wave. Even in 21st Century French cinema donated many classic movies. Here is the list of 10 best among them.


Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006)

Directed by Tom Tykwer
With Ben Whishaw, Dustin Hoffman, Alan Rickman, Francesc Albiol

Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, born with a superior olfactory sense, creates the world's finest perfume. His work, however, takes a dark turn as he searches for the ultimate scent.

Blue Is the Warmest Color (2013)

Directed by Abdellatif Kechiche
With Léa Seydoux, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Salim Kechiouche, Aurélien Recoing

Adele's life is changed when she meets Emma, a young woman with blue hair, who will allow her to discover desire, to assert herself as a woman and as an adult. In front of others, Adele grows, seeks herself, loses herself and ultimately finds herself through love and loss.

Amélie (2001)

Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet
With Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz, Rufus, Lorella Cravotta

Amelie is an innocent and naive girl in Paris with her own sense of justice. She decides to help those around her and, along the way, discovers love.

Two Days, One Night (2014)

Directed by Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
With Marion Cotillard, Fabrizio Rongione, Catherine Salée, Batiste Sornin

Sandra, a young Belgian mother, discovers that her workmates have opted for a significant pay bonus, in exchange for her dismissal. She has only one weekend to convince her colleagues to give up their bonuses so that she can keep her job.

A Prophet (2009)

Directed by Jacques Audiard
With Tahar Rahim, Niels Arestrup, Adel Bencherif, Reda Kateb

A young Arab man is sent to a French prison where he becomes a mafia kingpin.

Hidden (Caché) (2005)

Directed by Michael Haneke
With Daniel Auteuil, Juliette Binoche, Maurice Bénichou, Annie Girardot

A married couple is terrorized by a series of surveillance videotapes left on their front porch.

Rust and Bone (2012)

Directed by Jacques Audiard
With Marion Cotillard, Matthias Schoenaerts, Armand Verdure, Céline Sallette

Put in charge of his young son, Alain leaves Belgium for Antibes to live with his sister and her husband as a family. Alain's bond with Stephanie, a killer whale trainer, grows deeper after Stephanie suffers a horrible accident.

Paris, je t'aime (2006)

Directed by Olivier Assayas, Frédéric Auburtin, Emmanuel Benbihy
With Juliette Binoche, Leonor Watling, Ludivine Sagnier, Florence Muller

Through the neighborhoods of Paris, love is veiled, revealed, imitated, sucked dry, reinvented and awakened.

The Class (2008)

Directed by Laurent Cantet
With François Bégaudeau, Agame Malembo-Emene, Angélica Sancio, Arthur Fogel

Teacher and novelist François Bégaudeau plays a version of himself as he negotiates a year with his racially mixed students from a tough Parisian neighborhood.

The Piano Teacher (2001)

Directed by Michael Haneke
With Isabelle Huppert, Annie Girardot, Benoît Magimel, Susanne Lothar

A young man romantically pursues his masochistic piano teacher.