French films tend to have different goals to those produced in other countries, with artistic merit being a priority (at least until the 1960s). This assures that the films will have a more restricted audience than those produced in Hollywood.
It is also clear that French language films, even with subtitles, are going to have a smaller audience than English language films.
The French film industry has seldom reached the commercial heights of Hollywood, but is no worse for that and despite the challenges it faces (or perhaps because of them) France to this day has an active and thriving film industry - in part of course because no other country is going to produce a large number of French language films.
Although French films almost never reach a broad international audience, 'behind the scenes' French films and directors have played an important role in shaping the films that are produced in other countries and France has produced some exceptionally talented film directors (and films) during the course of the 20th century.
In this section you can read of the lives and works of some of the greatest and best known French film directors:
- Jean Renoir
- Francois Truffaut
- Jean-Luc Godard
- Jacques Tati
- Louis Malle
- Robert Bresson
- Jacques Demy
- Alain Resnaiy
- Luc Besson
- Michel Gondry
- Jean-Pierre Jeunet
The so called Nouvelle Vague (New Wave) movement in French film-making was very influential - see Nouvell Vague films
See also our related article - Films set in Paris - if you planning to visit or like to see France as it really is.