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3 French Films: The Beauty, The Beast And Hopeless Romance

I'd like to introduce three French films that are to me, and probably many others, modern classics.

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Amélie would be the first choice or thought to many movie buffs when it comes to French romantic comedies, but it also lives in the category of its own – just like Amélie does in her world.

Amélie Poulian has led a sheltered life – educated at home by over-protective parents, she retreats into a fantasy world of her own. When she finally leaves home and finds work as waitress in a Parisian café, life is pretty uneventful until a chain of extraordinary events leads her to the discovery of a thin box containing a schoolboy's long forgotten mementos.

It is then that Amelie discovers her true vocation in life – helping others find love and happiness – which she sets about in her own unique and magical way. When Amelie falls in love herself, she realises that making neat solutions is not as easy as it seems…

The cinematography, the beautiful soundtrack and the quirky acting make up one of the most amusing watches. Sometimes films seem to be made to do nothing but cheer you up and for a tiny moment change the way you look at the world. I agree with a couple of the sentiments addressed here as well - pulling off really long strips of wallpaper is incredibly satisfying, and wrinkled fingers in the bath is a horror.

La Femme Nikita

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Next up for me is Nikita, or La Femme Nikita, a Luc Besson film that later on spawned very addictive (especially in your teens even though later on it seems a bit cheesy) Canadian TV show starring Peta Wilson.

Basically, after being convicted of killing a cop, street-tough Nikita must choose between her own execution or training with a top-secret government agency to become an assassin. Given a new identity, new skills, and a new life by her mentor Bob, Nikita becomes "Josephine," a seductive, sophisticated knockout who's also a brutally efficient killing machine.

The action part is well executed but then there's the side of the film more interested in telling a hopeless romance rather than conventional testosterone-fuelled action helter-skelter.

When Nikita joyously jumps into her large new apartment, buys an indulgent amount (and variety) of food with a hefty pocket of cash, and effortlessly dates the first person she's enamoured with – we all have a secret urge to leave our lives and feel something remotely comparable to her joy. Well, minus the killing, torture and most things in between.Simply, Luc Besson created a superb new genre of hit-girl way back in 1990 and later on in 1994 a hit-man training a young girl called Mathilda.

Brotherhood of the Wolf

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My third favourite is not an obvious choice but subjectively I find it very entertaining and memorable. It's Brotherhood of the Wolf or Le Pacte des loups, directed by Christophe Gans.

In an isolated district of south-central France, the "Beast of Gevaudan" is blamed for the savage deaths of over 100 people. As panic sweeps across the region, the King sends his finest military minds to Gevaudan to flush out the Beast and kill it. Hired by the King, the knight Gregoire de Fronsac arrives in Gevaudan during an evening in autumn to solve the mystery of the Beast. Nothing could prepare him for what he was to discover next.

Brotherhood of the Wolf is a different beast. Based on old tales, true or false, they mix and match a variety of genres into a two-and-a-half-hour feast. It's lengthy running time is its greatest flaw.

Samuel Le Bihan as Grégoire de Fronsac is a very appealing and likeable central character, he has great support from the likes of Mark Dacascos (as a native American with little dialogue and showing off his martial arts skills), Monica Bellucci and Vincent Cassel in his so recognizable and well suited villain mode.

The CGI for the horror effects isn't that bad for a 2001 film, and if you still haven't experienced it try it out and enjoy in this versatile mixture of genres.

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