We review and recommend these 5 French comedies. Nowadays no one can doubt that French cinema has something. A charm that characterises it and that does not go unnoticed by lovers of the seventh art. The art of cinema, as a result, we owe to two brothers of French nationality. The brothers Louis and Auguste Lumière revolutionised the art of the image and can be considered the fathers of cinema. Indeed, with the creation of the “cinematograph”, they began to test filming, culminating in the public projection of the famous Exit of the Lumière factory on 28 December 1895 in the Indian Room of the Grand Café in Paris. With a running time of only 46 seconds, this “film” can be considered the first production in the history of cinema.
And if French cinema has charm, it is perhaps even more so in the comedy genre. This ironic, intelligent, at times absurd and satirical humour, in short, brilliant, will delight even the most demanding film buffs. A safe bet to escape and enjoy laughter, which heals.
Recommended French comedies
The Dinner Game (Le dîner de cons, 1998)
The well-to-do Parisian publisher Pierre Brochant (Thierry Lhermitte) and his friends organise a weekly dinner party, which they call The Dinner Game. Each guest has to bring someone they think is an idiot so that everyone can laugh at them. The goal? Whoever invites the best fool wins and receives the recognition of the rest of his colleagues. At one of these dinners the Brochant is sure that this time he will win by far. He has found a real gem, the biggest idiot he has ever met in his life. The fool in question is François Pignon (Jacques Villeret), a small-time clerk at the Ministry of Finance who is obsessed with miniature matchstick constructions. But things don’t always turn out the way you want them to. Perhaps Brochant will end up surprised by his guest. Perhaps he has made the worst mistake of his life.
The film, written and directed by Francis Veber, is a real gem. Shot almost entirely indoors, it is one of the best French comedies, with spectacular performances worthy of actors accustomed to the theatre. In fact, the film is based on the play The Dinner Game, also written by Veber. The film is full of intelligent humour, making use of the dialogue and the almost surrealistic situations to amuse a discerning audience. The film was very well received by critics and can now be considered one of the best comedies in European cinema in recent years. It is also an excellent and acid criticism of the social classes. The rich and clever laugh at the poor and stupid.
Heartbreaker (L’Arnacoeur, 2010)
Alex (Romain Duris) has set up a company with his sister Mèlanie (Julie Ferrier) and her husband Marc (François Damiens). They are the best at their job: separating couples. If, for example, you think that a friend of yours is dating a bad guy who doesn’t suit her and is making her suffer, you hire Alex and he and his team will take care of breaking up the couple.
They are clear that there are three types of women in a couple: the happy ones, the unhappy ones who accept it and the unhappy ones who don’t know it. The latter are the basis of their business. They do whatever it takes and they are 100% effective. They do have their rules. First, never separate a couple who love each other. Secondly, never interfere in a relationship because of race or religion. Lastly, never fall in love. These rules begin to falter when a stranger hires them to put an end to their daughter Juliette’s (Vanessa Paradis) relationship with her boyfriend.
The film, directed by Pascal Chaumeil, is a delightful romantic comedy with an irresistibly elegant touch. Shot in Nice, Cannes, Paris, Morocco and Monte Carlo, The Seducers exudes originality and steers clear of sentimentality for most of the film. With very funny situations (generated mainly by its supporting actors) and a good chemistry between the actors, the comedy became a box-office hit and one of the most watched films of the year.
Welcome to the Sticks (Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis, 2008)
Phillippe Abrams (Kas Merad) is a postal official who longs to be transferred to the French coast. After a slip-up at work, he is punished and assigned to Bergues, a small village on the Belgian border. The North, which he imagines to be horrible for both him and his wife, who in the end prefers to stay in Paris with their son. But, surprise surprise, when he arrives in the dreaded North, the protagonist finds himself in a wonderful place, full of charming people with whom he becomes true friends. However, he realises that by telling his wife how bad he is having a bad time, she treats him better and better, and their marriage seems to come out of the crisis they were in before. So that’s what he does, he lies. And he’s doing very well until his wife and son decide to pay him a visit.
Lively, funny, intelligent, in short, brilliant, this film, directed by and starring the comedian Dany Boon, became a hit, with more than 20 million viewers.
Serial (Bad) Weddings (Qu’est-ce qu’on a fait au Bon Dieu?, 2014)
Claude and Marie Verneuil, a very conservative Catholic couple, have four daughters. Three of them are married. Despite having passed on their values to them, they have not succeeded in getting any of them to marry according to their beliefs. The eldest married a Muslim, then the second married a Jew and the third married a Chinese. Family gatherings are a living hell as they are full of conflicts between the brothers-in-law under the disapproving gaze of their in-laws who have not accepted these marriages. So the Verneuils have all their hopes pinned on their youngest daughter. Let’s see if she marries a nice French Catholic boy. What they don’t know is that she has already chosen her future husband.
Directed by Philippe de Chauveron, Serial (Bad) Weddings is a witty French screwball comedy in which current issues such as racism, xenophobia, tolerance and acceptance of differences are treated with humour. An amusing caricature of the French bourgeoisie, the film became the biggest box-office hit of 2014, grossing 100 million euros.
French comedies not suitable for all audiences > Delicatessen (1991)
Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro, this black comedy surprises with its aesthetic approach. Strange, imaginative, in short, not suitable for all audiences, this is one of the French comedies that knows how to break away from stereotypes. The film presents a post-apocalyptic France where food is scarce. Several people live in a dilapidated building with a butcher’s shop on the ground floor, including Clapet, the owner of the butcher’s shop. This business is used by its owner to attract victims, whom he kills and then sells their meat
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