French Culture Highlight: Must-See Films on DCL

Cinema: a quintessential French experience. Where would we be today without the works of Georges Méliès, Jean-Luc Godard, or Jean Renoir? In a world much more drab and uninspired, to be sure.

Luckily, the University of Minnesota has a veritable treasure trove of movies uploaded to their Digital Content Library (DCL). Among their numerous collections, the Language Center and the FRIT Department both have extensive collections of French films. Users can always use the search bar to check if the DCL has a specific film, but here are 10 suggestions of incredible French or francophone movies with which you should start off your exploration of the site:

  1. Paris, je t’aime (2006)
    • This film is an anthology of 18 short films set in different arrondissements of Paris. Each short film stars different actors and tells a different story about the diverse beauty of Paris, with collaboration by 22 directors.
  2. La Petite vendeuse de soleil (1999)
    • Djibril Diop Mambéty’s last film, La Petite Vendeuse de Soleil tells the story of a Senegalese girl who overcomes numerous obstacles to become the first girl to sell newspapers in Dakar.
  3. Persepolis (2007)
    • Persepolis is an animated film based off of an autobiographical graphic novel by Marjane Satrapi. It tells the story of young Marjane coming of age in Iran during the Iranian Revolution.
  4. Intouchables (2011)
    • This film is a touching story of a young man from the banlieue who is hired as a caretaker for a wealthy, recently paralyzed man. The strong friendship between the two men is told through flashbacks of their relationship.
  5. Moolaadé (2004)
    • Ousmane Sembène’s Moolaadé tells a triumphant, inspiring story of a group of West African women who protest their village’s practice of female genital mutilation.
  6. À bout de souffle (1960)
    • Written and directed by Jean-Luc Godard, À bout de souffle is considered a classic in French cinema. It tells the tale of a dangerous, wandering criminal and his American girlfriend.
  7. Les Triplettes de Belleville (2003)
    • Les Triplettes de Belleville is an animated comedy film about a grandmother and her companions who go on a quest to save her grandson, a cyclist in the Tour de France who was kidnapped by the French mafia.
  8. Inch’Allah dimanche (2001)
    • Directed by French politician Yamina Benguigui, this film tells the story of an Algerian woman who immigrates to France, where she faces difficulties indicative of the complexities facing female immigrants.
  9. La Belle et la Bête (1946)
    • This classic film is an adaptation of the fairy tale story Beauty and the Beast. Cocteau’s production is the first cinematic adaptation of the story and has stood the test of time.
  10. Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulin (2001)
    • Known to American audiences as Amélie, this film is a charming story of a shy waitress who observes those around her while trying to improve their lives.

Happy viewing!