Today is July 14, also known as “la Fête nationale” in France. This recognition of the turning point in the French Revolution is called Bastille Day in English-speaking countries, and it’s an excuse to celebrate all things Francophile.
In what feels like a romantic comedy dry spell, thankfully we still have the French to fill the gaps where American film has lapsed. The charm, wit and romance of French film are in full swing this summer, and what better time to watch than Bastille Day? Here are our favorites to check out. Subtitles, on.
Outrageous, goofy comedy in the slapstick style dominates this quirky film. Fiona Gordon, whose characters often share her name, stars as Fiona – a first-time Paris visitor on a mission to assist her ailing Aunt Martha. When a whole case of shenanigans ensues, Fiona, with an unwieldy hydrant-red pack strapped to her back, enlists Dom, an expressionless homeless man, to meddle through the madness with her. Fans of Gordon’s other films, like the 2011 picture “The Fairy,” will love this unconventional French flick.
Following the success of “La La Land,” original musicals are having a moment. This one, inspired by the films of classic filmmakers Stanley Donen and Jacques Demy, couples French charm with characteristics of a Hollywood musical. It follows Julie, an employee at a luxury shoe company who must navigate an unruly boss, a new romance and striking co-workers. You’ll be tapping your foot the whole time. “Footnotes” opens today at the Village East Cinema with a wide release to follow.
This is a story about parents, and parents of parents. Seventeen-year-old Claire is pregnant, but the baby’s father, Simon, has no interest in fatherhood. So Claire’s single mother, Gabrielle, takes control of the situation and forms a relationship with Simon’s father, Ange, to encourage good-naturedness between the two families. This touching family story is funny and sweet at the same time. It’s available to watch now on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon and other major platforms.
“Bad Buzz” is a buddy comedy that brings to mind American films like “Step Brothers” and “Wedding Crashers.” But, it’s got some added French flare. Eric and Quentin are at the height of their career, but in less than 48 hours everything could come crashing down. They race against the clock to save themselves and their career. This goofy summer comedy will have you bouncing in your seat with laughter.
A hilarious story of first love and heartbreak, “Mon Poussin” follows the story of 18-year-old Vincent who’s just been dumped by Elina. He’s absolutely distraught, so his parents set out to cure his broken heart. They try everything to rid him of his lovesickness, and hilarity ensues.
And if you’d rather watch French film with company, we’ve got something for you too. Check out NYC’s free outdoor French film festival, Films on the Green, which is presented by French Embassy and NYC Parks. Tonight they’re showing “Port of Shadows” (“Le quai des brumes”) at Tompkins Square Park.