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50 films to watch in a hotel room

Laugh and smile

What Women Want
Nancy Meyers – 2001

With Mel Gibson, Helen Hunt
Mel Gibson doesn’t hesitate to make a dent in his virile and belligerent image in this portrait of a macho publicist endowed with a curious gift of telepathy: he can read the thoughts of women. Between gender war and dancing in stockings, self-parody and Sinatra soundtrack, a tasty and vicious romcom without waffle.

 

Heartbeats
Xavier Dolan – 2010

With Xavier Dolan, Monia Chokri, Niels Schneider
A love triangle story which celebrates the unreasonable whims of love, jealousy, friendship, Grecian beauty and Cocteau drawings.... All that seen through the popular and rebellious eye of a Quebec director who was twenty-one years old at the time, iconoclastic successor of Jean-Luc Godard and Wong Kar Waï.

 

Notting Hill
Roger Michell – 1999

With Hugh Grant, Julia Roberts
With this film, romantic comedy has made an about-turn: produced in 1999 in Britain, it shows a young man with clumsy gestures and expressions (the almost unknown Hugh Grant) confronted with the ultimate in American sophistication (the star Julia Roberts) in the elegant setting of a mythical district of London. Timeless!

 

Pauline at the Beach
Eric Rohmer – 1983

With Amanda Langlet, Arielle Dombasle
How to flirt on holiday? Do a slow dance in a swimsuit? Resist a Don Juan or a femme fatale? Here is a packed summer programme for Pauline who is lodging with her cousin, played by the mischievous Arielle Dombasle. A delightful chronicle about desire, coming of age and smooth talking raised to the art of filming.

 

Knocked Up
Judd Apatow – 2007

With Seth Rogen, Katherine Heigl
The American king of the joke in the 2000s at his best in this farce on unintentional paternity. Declaration of love for losers and ex-virgins, the film is a brilliant portrayal of how not to use condoms and jokes to avoid in society. A schoolboy comedy, tender and hysterically funny.

 

It’s Easier for a Camel…
Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi – 2003

With Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, Chiara Mastroïanni
Federica thinks that her fortune is a sin, prevents her from being happy and from having a child. A very funny personal crusade ensues, between self-mockery and mild madness: the examination of conscience of an actress/film-maker heiress from a large Italian family, sister Carla Bruni, through an endearing and melancholy comedy.

 

Struggle for Life
Antonin Peretjatko – 2016

With Vincent Macaigne, Vimala Pons
Multiplying burlesque situations and absurd dialogues, this odyssey in the jungle makes us believe the impossible: a plan to install ski pistes right in the middle of the Amazon forest. An aeroplane crash, sexual quintessence, fights, golf and monsters will punctuate the ambitious route of a tandem of improbable adventurers.

 

Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Blake Edwards – 1961

With Audrey Hepburn, Georges Peppard
Adapted from a novel by Truman Capote, produced by one of the American kings of laughter of the 1950s, Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a bitter vaudeville film which depicts a girl of modest means in search of a rich husband. Mythic New York, witty dialogues and the androgynous figure of an emerging star: a cult film.

 

Silver Linings Playbook
David O. Russell – 2012

With Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence
Patt and Tiffany are two tormented souls who run on Xanax. Better than classical therapy, their relationship, of arguments, dance and burger binging will reconcile them with life. A comedy about bipolarity, Silver Linings Playbook is an electrical and daring romance in the same vein as Woody Allen or Howard Hawks.

 

Heartbreaker
Pascal Chaumeil – 2010

With Romain Duris, Vanessa Paradis
A businessman who professionally breaks up relationships, Alex falls in love with a young woman whom he is supposed to be preventing from marrying. Assisted by two associates (the formidable François Damiens and Juliette Ferrier), he puts on a heroic act as a womaniser, half Casanova half clown, in front of a pretty, stoic, blond woman, who is also a fan of Dirty Dancing. Irresistible.

 

Good Morning
Yasujirō Ozu – 1959

With Koji Shidara, Yoshiko Kuga
One of the most beautiful films on childhood: in the straitjacketed Japan of the 1950s, two lads deprived of television by their parents take a vow of silence. From floor height, Ozu films the arrival of modernity in a family and makes this touching film of insolence and the right to be rude.

 

Love at First Fight
Thomas Cailley – 2014

Military comedy, love film, chronicle on the apocalypse and the end of the world, these soldiers
lure us into a surprising expedition led by a muscular heroine and a boy who moons around, fighting against the excesses of the modern world (individualism, global warming). Funny and unusual.

 

In Bed with Victoria
Justine Triet – 2016

Lawyer, single mother on the verge of a nervous breakdown, Victoria hires a babysitter who succumbs to her charms. The volatile Virginie Efira confronted with the eccentric Vincent Lacoste, a grotesque trial, Tinder plans and a chimpanzee: Justine Triet presents here a vibrant homage to the sophisticated American comedy put through the mill of neuroses, made in France.

 

Terms of Endearment
James L. Brooks – 1984

With Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger
Former muse of Minnelli and Wyler, Shirley MacLaine jars in this role, in which she is cast against type, of an ageing pin-up who is a little bit of a cow. Produced by a delicate craftsman of mainstream cinema, a bitter and aggressive film, centred on mother-daughter relationships. With Jack Nicholson in the role of a fine and surrealist mediator.

 

Groundhog Day
Harold Ramis – 1993

Avec Bill Murray
With this stuttering story of a man condemned to re-live the same day for ever, the actor Bill Murray has found his greatest role, thanks to which he can deploy the whole range of his talent: a caustic humour, minimalist body language, and a restrained satire against an America of respectability and social folklore. A hilarious descent into hell.

 

Jerry Maguire
Cameron Crowe – 1996

With Tom Cruise, Renée Zellweger
With business declining for Jerry, a sports stars agent, he tries to bounce back with the help of a shy colleague and a psychopathic footballer. Love waits for him at the end of the field. Jerry Maguire is the combination of an irresistible Tom Cruise, an avalanche of punchlines, sporting sequences bordering on melodrama and one of the finest cinema kisses.

Cry

An Affair to Remember
Léo McCarey – 1957

With Cary Grant, Deborah Kerr
A playboy and a singer fall in love on an ocean liner while they are preparing to join their future spouses. Heartbreaking story of a missed meeting, this melodrama classic remains forever linked with a trembling pair of actors and the tragically high top of the Empire State Building in Manhattan.

 

All That Heaven Allows
Douglas Sirk – 1955

With Jane Wyman, Rock Hudson
Film-maker par excellence of thwarted love, Sirk recounts here the passion between a widow and her gardener who is fifteen years younger than her. Judged by their neighbours, they will become the black sheep, symbols of an impossible liberty in the puritan America of the 1950s. A bitter and magnificent love story enhanced by Technicolor.

 

Titanic
James Cameron – 1998

With Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet
The second greatest box office success (after Avatar) with more than 2 billion dollars of takings, Titanic will have caused at least as many tears to be shed. The moving idyll, having, as its stage, the famous British liner which sank in 1912, the power of the reconstruction, the birth of the star DiCaprio have raised it, from the outset, to the ranks of a cult film.

 

Bonjour Tristesse
Otto Preminger – 1958

With Deborah Kerr, Jean Seberg
Adapted from the famous novel by Françoise Sagan, his American adaptation brings two stars of the time face to face: the prima donna of the Deborah Kerr studios, with the young and cheeky Jean Seberg. A clash in the sun with a background of cicadas on the Côte d’Azur; a sensual environment behind closed doors where brutal, indeed criminal, mutations are at work, from teenage years to adulthood.

 

The Garden of the Finzi-Continis
Vittorio De Sica – 1970

With Dominique Sanda, Fabio Testi
During the 1930s, at the time of the rise of Mussolini, the last years of flirting and light-heartedness of young people from the wealthy Jewish bourgeoisie. But is this golden youth so blind? Defender of Italian neorealism, De Sica relates the end of an Eden, depicted by a lush garden, and its progressive invasion by the spectre of fascism.

 

The Thin Red Line
Terrence Malick – 1998

With Sean Penn, Jim Caviezel
In the battle of 1942 of the Americans against the Japanese, which was called “the Verdun of the Pacific”, a group of men buckle under the weight of the fighting and use images of paradise lost as a form of escapism. Mystical film-maker, Malick reshapes the war film as a pantheist poem standing alongside harsh butchery. Powerful.

 

Two English Girls
François Truffaut – 1971


With Jean-Pierre Léaud, Philippe Léotard
A tormented, sentimental upbringing on the English coasts.... The founder of the New Wave (The 400 Blows), has never been so lyrical and accurate than in this portrait of Jean-Pierre Léaud as a young man in love with two sisters at the same time, lodging with them. He will lose his heart there and his reason. Beautiful and sad.

 

Brief Encounter
David Lean – 1945

With Celia Johnson, Trevor Howard
A great producer of epics (Doctor Zhivago, Lawrence of Arabia), David Lean has, however, made his most moving film with this simple drama about adultery. Brief Encounter starts with the parting of two lovers in a railway station and continues with a flash-back of their affair. Between passion and loyalty, which to choose?

 

Manchester by the Sea
Kenneth Lonergan – 2016

With Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams
The shattered life of a man after the disappearance of part of his family in a fire, for which he is partly responsible. In a misty fishing port on the east coast, the fate of this inconsolable father who has become a house husband goes beyond the flat chronicle of bereavement in favour of a great funeral lament, soft and obsessional, on resilience

 

Some Came Running
Vincente Minnelli – 1958

With Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin
A family portrait which is built around the rivalry of two brothers, the one an alcoholic artist, the other an important and authoritarian middle-class man. Elegant, sophisticated, the production is magnificent: an explosion of colours and sensational orchestration supporting a private and visceral romanticism. All the energy of Minnelli in a film.

 

Suzanne
Katell Quillévéré – 2013


With Sara Forestier, François Damiens
Suzanne is a child, then a secondary school student, and finally a shambolic young adult who dumps everything to follow a small-time crook. Flamboyant destiny of a heroine on the edge, this fine film tells of an amorous infatuation, between reflection on family, motherhood and illusory happiness. The raw and fictional melodrama of a young successor of Maurice Pialat.

 

Moby Dick
John Huston – 1956


With Gregory Peck, Richard Basehart
The white whale is a victim of the bloodthirsty man; it is also a symbol of God, of occult powers which we do not control. The great Huston pays homage to it in this aquatic Western, violent and epic, in which a charismatic hero, Captain Ahab, obsessively hunts the beast. The first (friendly) sea monster.

 

Kings and Queen
Arnaud Desplechin – 2004

With Emmanuelle Devos, Mathieu Amalric
A tough business woman and her eccentric ex get together again around a story of adoption. In this comedy-drama, neuroses are treated with hip-hop and in a museum, surrounded by dinosaurs, you learn about life. A loquacious, delusional and sometimes tender, picture of the human condition.

 

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
Jacques Demy – 1964

With Catherine Deneuve, Nico Castelnuovo
In the middle of the Algerian war, a young woman resigns herself to a loveless marriage after the mobilisation of her lover. Soppy story-line, pretty songs, but a true tragedy. With a background of wet pavements, Jacques Demy directs his most sad and upsetting musical, with a damaged, but sunny, Deneuve.

 

Love in the Afternoon
Billy Wilder – 1957

Gary Cooper, Audrey Hepburn
Incredible case of a police mix-up and lovers, Ariane depicts the daughter of a private detective bickering with an old seducer. Between the fool’s game and smooth talking, a dazzling tale on the licentious morals of the capital of love, as a voice-over proclaims right from the first images: “In Paris, everybody does it! "

 

Love Songs
Christophe Honoré – 2007

With Louis Garrel, Ludivine Sagnier
Ménage à trois, bereavement and songs: this is the whirling setting of this sentimental, romantic and whimsical drama, which deploys a procession of actor acrobats in the public streets of Paris. In line with the musical comedies by Jacques Demy, a pop anthem to freedom, to the absence of rules and to the multiple combinations of love.

 

Saint Laurent
Bertrand Bonello – 2014

With Gaspard Ulliel, Jérémie Renier
The life of the great fashion designer, inventor of the dinner suit for women, admired for all his fashion clothes, from the most trivial (the birth of the “brand name”) to the most tragic (his episodes of depression), in a bizarre and vertiginous biopic. Where Paris is perceived as the Mecca of the revolutionary geniuses of fashion.

 

The Dreamers
Bernardo Bertolucci – 2003

With Michael Pitt, Eva Green
A story of emancipation, ode to youth, orgies: three young, dazzlingly beautiful people wander round a large Paris apartment, left to their own resources and to the lust of over-excited senses. Louis Garrel, Michael Pitt, and Eva Green revive the spirit of revolt of May 1968 in these roles as “enfants terribles”, being at one and the same time sensual and scheming angels.

 

House of Pleasure
Max Ophuls – 1952

With Claude Dauphin, Gaby Morlay
Adapted from Maupassant short stories, here are three stunning stories combining characters always in motion, festivals, dances, shopping, stairs: an old man who goes to balls, an artist tired of his model and, especially, a joyous band of prostitutes right in the countryside. Joie de vivre in a pure state.

 

Holy Motors
Leos Carax – 2012

With Denis Lavant, Edith Scob
Mr Oscar is a changeable being capable of taking several identities at the same time: beggar, business owner, assassin.... Film on the edge of fantasy, shot in a Paris interspersed with ghosts, Holy Motors is a guided tour in a limousine, from the Pont Neuf to the Père Lachaise cemetery, and through the history of the cinema.

 

The 400 Blows
François Truffaut – 1959

With Jean-Pierre Léaud, Claire Maurier
A New Wave film manifesto, The 400 Blows immerses us in Paris in the 1950s - 1960s, its streets, its cinemas, and shows us the most insolent of teenagers, an adept at truancy and pilfering. A tender and disenchanted look at youth which marks the début of a great actor: Jean-Pierre Léaud.

Tremble and be afraid

Rebecca
Alfred Hitchcock – 1940

With Joan Fontaine, Dame Judith
Daphne du Maurier’s novel filtered through Gothic aesthetics. In this haunted house story centred on a young wife terrified by the phantom of her husband’s first, dead, wife, the settings become the metaphors of the unconscious and of a dark and all-consuming psyche. A masterpiece.

 

Secret Beyond the Door…
Fritz Lang – 1948

With Joan Bennett, Michael Redgrave
The German master of the expressionist cinema disclaims the myth of Bluebeard with this psychoanalytical thriller, a reflection on the forces of evil with a seductive, but shady, male whose favourite hobby consists of reconstructing crime scenes. For anyone who likes to untangle the wires of his sick brain. Harrowing.

 

The Others
Alejandro Amenabar – 2001


With Nicole Kidman, Elaine Cassidy
During the second world war, a mother lives with her two children in her isolated home. They become witnesses to strange phenomena. The great imperial Kidman, under the guidance of the young prodigy of the Spanish horror cinema: feeling of asphyxiation, a worrying closed door environment and a magnificently unexpected denouement.

 

Mulholland Drive
David Lynch – 2001

With Naomi Watts, Laura Harring
The complex, sensual and poisonous relationships of two young actresses in Hollywood. Unusual masterpiece, a waking nightmare in the city of dreams, a story of love and death.... Cult film-maker of Twin Peaks, David Lynch has revolutionised the system of images with this strange and expanded thriller in which one no longer knows how to disentangle false from true, fiction from reality.

 

Bound
Lilly et Lana Wachowski – 1996

With Jennifer Tilly, Gina Gershon
One of the first thrillers to be explicitly lesbian. Powerful, sulphurous, Bound tracks the escape of an ex-convict and a femme fatale, and their Machiavellian plan: to steal 2 billion dollars from the Mafia. A blunt film noir driven by superbly styled staging, precursor, three years later, to the cult film Matrix.

 

We Own the Night
James Gray – 2007

With Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Wahlberg
Master of the American detective novel in the 2000s, James Gray makes his most brilliant film with this story of a divided family: a nightclub owner working closely with the Mafia faces father and son, members of the New York police in the 1980s. Torrential violence, Shakespearian drama: a sublime nocturnal crusade.

 

Cat People
Jacques Tourneur – 1942

With Simone Simon, Kent Smith
This is the story of a heroine who, at night, changes into a panther. Innovative in its shape (everything in shadows and light) and its subject (a woman-monster), Cat People made history in fantasy cinema. A tale about the loss of virginity, drives, a daring and haunting film, cornerstone of horror cinema.

 

Gravity
Alfonso Cuaron – 2013

With Sandra Bullock, George Clooney
During an everyday trip into space, two astronauts see their shuttle pulverised and find themselves condemned to float in the cosmos. A terrifying scenario for a minimalist package, Gravity is a real visual effects trip, a blockbuster in the stars, a step back from the major SF productions, which were often over-scripted. Magical.

 

Psycho
Hitchcock – 1960

With Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh
A fugitive, a motel at night, a lonely boy, some stuffed birds... As classic as it may be, the work of the master of suspense has lost nothing of its terrifying aura. More than half a century later, we remain fascinated by the shattering editing of the shower scene, by the grin of the actor Anthony Perkins who never really recovers from this evil role.

 

Shutter Island
Martin Scorsese – 2010

With Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo
A couple of cops enquire into a disappearance in a mental asylum. But is the reality what one believes? A rainy setting and psychological suspense revive the film noir conventions and extend their web around the characters. A great unsettling film about the return of inhibitions, culpability and the morbid other side of the American dream.

 

Signs
M. Night Shyamalan – 2002

With Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix
Discovered with The Sixth Sense, Shyamalan, during the 1990s and 2000s, stood out as a gifted producer of paranormal thrillers. Filmed in the middle of cornfields, Signs tackles the theme of an extra-terrestrial invasion with which a family is confronted. Lost virility, visionary children and transcendence: a hypnotic film.

 

The Night of the Hunter
Charles Laughton – 1955

With Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters
A little boy and his sister run away in a small boat on the river in the middle of the night. They are trying to leave behind their mother’s assassin. A masterpiece of the genre cinema, which has managed to combine darkness and childhood, The Night of the Hunter combines sensory rhymes, childish fear and venality, in a criminal prosecution quest of radiant beauty.

 

Diabolique/The Fiends
Henri-Georges Clouzot – 1954

With Simone Signoret, Véra Clouzot
Both teachers in a school, the wife and lover of the headteacher put together a plan to kill him. The plan works but the body disappears.... Intended as an anecdote, the script puts into effect a feminine vendetta filmed straight against a backdrop of manipulation. The question of evil in the rigid and moral France of the 1950s is explored in depth.

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