Skip to Content

Top 5 French Movies of 2021

Top 5 French Movies of 2021

Here is a new selection of the best French movies of 2021. This year, I have the honor to have Guillaume Luce write this guest post on French Iceberg. Have a good reading!

We have prepared a selection of the five films (+1) that have marked us this year. The selection goes from French comedies to action and paranormal movies. There is something for everyone in this article on French movies 2021.

5 – Annette 

This French-German-Belgian film is absolutely crazy by Leos Carax (an anagram of Les Oscars) with Adam Driver (Kylo Ren in Star Wars) and Marion Cotillard (La Môme). This film was presented at the opening of the Cannes Film Festival and it was also in competition. This film begins with an original first scene with the musical group Sparks singing the song “So may we start”, then joined by the actors of the film. 

This musical comedy tells the story of a couple of artists, an opera singer, and a stand-up comedian, to whom everything seems to succeed. The birth of Annette, their first child who looks like a doll, turns their lives upside down. When the success gradually leaves the comedian, the couple struggle until the irreparable is committed. 


Three reasons to watch this French film:

  • The songs of the Sparks
  • The genius of Leos Carax (The Lovers on the Bridge, Holly motors…)
  • The presence of Simon Hesberg (The irresistible Wolovitz in The Big Bang Theory)

4 – OSS 117: From Africa with Love

French title: OSS 117: Alerte Rouge en Afrique noire

Hubert Bonisseur de la Bath, the seductive spy, a bit racist and misogynistic, shines once again by his clumsiness. 15 years after his Brazilian adventures, he returns in the mid-80s to prove that he is the best French agent. Sent to an African country on the edge of a coup d’état, he is charged with finding one of his colleagues who disappeared on a mission. Before you embark on this third adventure of OSS 117, we strongly advise you to watch the first two. Here is an article about the trilogy OSS 117


Three reasons to watch this French film:

  • If you like puns, and clashing with your French friends
  • The credits are inspired by the one in Goldfinger, the third James Bond movie
  • Pierre Niney, a young French actor in the role of a fanboy spy as arrogant as ridiculous. What else? Jean Dujardin, you know, The Artist’s guy and George Clooney’s friend in Nespresso ads.

3 – Kaamelott 

This film is one of the biggest French box-office successes of the year. This first parody (it will be a trilogy) of the legend of the Round Table follows the eponymous sitcom completed 10 years earlier by its creator Alexandre Astier. The French actor played a humorously cranky King Arthur, tired of the stupidity of his knights, who are off to a bad start to find the Grail.

After a long exile, during which he fell back into anonymity, we find the fallen king of the kingdom of Kaamelott, Arthur Pendragon, reduced to a slave. He is wanted by the former knight of the round table, Lancelot of the Lake, who now rules Kaamelott and believes he is a threat to his power. Will Arthur succeed in recovering the legendary Excalibur which had allowed him to reach power? To tell the truth, we don’t care, we’re here to have a good laugh with a great team of idiots!


Three reasons to watch this French film:

  • A historical film whose visual universe sometimes reminds that of Game of Thrones, but with more jokes.
  • If you meet French people, you can talk with them about the two dumbest characters of Kaamelott, Perceval and Karadoc de Vannes. Ask them to explain the complex rules of their incomprehensible or absurd games, such as chante-sloubi. If you understand them, tell us. After fifteen years, we still haven’t come to terms with it.
  • A good way to get into the series that has 6 seasons divided into 458 episodes that last from 3 to 52 minutes.

2 – The Stronghold 

French title: Bac Nord

French film based on a true story directed by Cédric Jimenez. Three cops of the anti-crime brigade fight against drug trafficking in the northern ghetto of Marseille.


Three reasons to watch this French film:

  • Did you love Luc Besson’s action films? You’ll love the action of Bac Nord
  • Meet some of the best French actors: François Civil, Gilles Lellouche, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Karim Leklou
  • Discover Marseille as you’ve never seen it before and with the music of the local and famous French rapper: JUL 

1 – Paris, 13th district

French title: Les Olympiades

One of France’s greatest directors (Jacques Audiard) returns with a film that will speak to the Tinder generation and the urban population with actress Noémie Merlant. This adaptation of the comic strip by New Yorker Adrian Tomine depicts the disappearance of love, which becomes a commodity within reach of a swipe, and where commitment becomes synonymous with repulsion.


Three reasons to watch this French film:

  • The screenplay by Céline Sciamma (Portrait of a Lady on Fire) and Léa Mysius
  • The 13th arrondissement of Paris magnified by an elegant black and white
  • The electro-music of the French artist Rone

(BONUS) – Titane

French title: Titane, la tête dure comme fer

This one we put just to shine at dinner parties. After the movie Raw (2016), which we also recommend, Julia Ducournau returns with Titane, which was awarded the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival 2021. The film will also represent France at the Oscars, in the category of best foreign film.

A dancer equipped with a titanium plate on her skull since a car accident develops a special relationship with mechanics. Taken by a murderous madness, she is sought by the police and changes her appearance. Her life is turned upside down again when she is mistaken for the missing son of an alcoholic fireman, with whom she ends up forming a bond…

Trailer of Titane (link)

Three reasons to watch this French film:

  • Find Vincent Lindon and Garance Marillier (Grave) in the cast
  • The violence made aesthetic by the influences of genre films made by John Carpenter (Christine), David Cronenberg (Videodrome), and David Lynch (Lost Highway).
  • The pleasure of saying that you have seen a Palme d’Or to the end, which adopts a feminine look (Female gaze).

If you like French cinema, we invite you to listen to a podcast in 3-minute episodes called, @lefilmdumercredi, and available on Instagram. There’s even an episode that talks about Portrait of a Lady on Fire, which is discussed in this article.

Is there a French movie you liked that’s not on this list? Tell me in the comments about this article! Finally, to come back to French Iceberg, I invite you to consult the previous articles about our different  selections of the best French movies with :

Photo Credit @Christophe Brachet

Article translated by Sacha