6. The Science of Sleep (2006)
Can you imagine a life where dreams come true? Living in a small flat in Paris, a shy young man named Stephane (Gael Garcia Bernal) falls in love with his next door neighbor, a composer named Stephanie (Charlotte Gainsbourg). Failing to control his emotions toward her, Stephane tries to use his vast imagination in order to win her heart, which stirs up his distinction between reality and fiction.
Written and directed by Michel Gondry (who is best known for 2004’s “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”), “The Science of Sleep” is a often surrealist comedy/drama and like its predecessor, is worth your time.
7. La fille sur le pont (Girl on the Bridge) (1999)
Patrice Leconte’s 1999 black-and-white film begins with the suicidal Adele (Vanessa Paradis) getting rescued by Gabor (Daniel Auteuil) right before jumping into the Seine River from a Paris bridge. After persuading her to be a target girl for his knife throwing act, this unlikely couple starts traveling and performing in the northern part of the Mediterranean, developing platonic feelings toward each other in the process.
Although it’s not a musical, its eclectic soundtrack gives the audience a feeling of traveling through Europe with the main characters. Nominated for a Golden Globe in the Best Foreign Film category in 2000, “Girl on the Bridge” is a fine example of French cinema.
8. Kimssi pyoryugi (Castaway on the Moon) (2009)
After losing his job and girlfriend, Mr. Kim (Jae-young Jung) decides to end it all for himself by jumping into Han River, only to fail and get washed up on a small island in the middle of the river. Starting over with a clean slate, he becomes a castaway, only to attract the attention of an agoraphobic young woman (Ryeo-won Jung), whose house overlooks the river.
This South Korean romantic ‘dramedy’, written and directed by Lee Hae-Jun, has a quirky yet charming quality. Essentially, it is a film about hope that also asks the question of the possibility of being happy with the small things in life.
9. Baisers Volés (Stolen Kisses) (1968)
This whimsical and romantic film about the restlessness of youth is the third cinematic installment about the character Antoine Doinel, created by director Françis Truffaut. After “The 400 Blows” and the short film “Antoine and Colette”, Truffaut revisits the same character in 1968.
Antoine (Jean-Pierre Leaud), a 20-year-old man who is discharged from the Army and released onto the streets of Paris, tries to make sense of his life and his relationship with women, mainly a young violinist named Christine Darbon (Claude Jade).
Although it is practically a sequel, “Stolen Kisses” can be regarded as its own film since it doesn’t really need its predecessors to make sense of it. It is a product of the French New Wave that balances grief and comedy masterfully through a series of unfortunate events, whilst still giving a salute to the modernity of American cinema.
10. Poulet aux Prunes (Chicken with Plums) (2011)
Co-written and co-directed by Vincent Paronnaud and Marjane Satrapi, “Chicken with Plums” is the second feature film of the duo, after their much acclaimed semi-autobiographical animated film “Persepolis”.
The film follows Nasser-Ali Khan (Mathieu Amalric), a once well-known violinist in 1958’s Tehran, who is overcome with melancholy after his beloved violin is broken. Because of its irreplaceable sentimental and musical value, Nasser-Ali decides to await death in his bed and goes on a magical journey of his bittersweet life in his mind during the process.
Partially influenced by the life of writer/director Satrapi’s uncle, “Chicken with Plums” is a story about missed opportunities with a sweet but dark sense of humor. It is wondrous to behold with its exquisite and colorful visuals, almost making the audience feel like they’re experiencing magic.