4 Best Movies to Watch by Jean-Hugues Anglade

Staff & contributors
Before Games of Thrones delivered court intrigues, shocking murders, and adulterous affairs, Queen Margot delivered all these nearly two decades earlier, depicting the dramatized, real life events of the French Wars of Religion. While it doesn’t have dragons, it has style, with some of the most stunning scenes intercut with some of the most gruesome, pushing the envelope with a freedom only possible due to none of their descendants still holding the French throne. It’s also one of the most expensive French films ever made, but every franc was put to good use, with luxurious sound, sets, costumes, and camerawork excellently supporting the cast’s performances. Initially released to mixed reception in America with 20 minutes cut from the runtime, La Reine Margot has thankfully been restored and re-released in full for its 20th anniversary in 2014.

Genre: Drama, History, Romance

Actor: Asia Argento, Barbet Schroeder, Bernard Nissile, Bernard Verley, Bruno Todeschini, Charlie Nelson, Claudio Amendola, Daniel Auteuil, Daniel Breton, Dominique Blanc, Dörte Lyssewski, Emmanuel Salinger, Grégoire Colin, Isabelle Adjani, Jean Douchet, Jean-Claude Brialy, Jean-Hugues Anglade, Jean-Marc Stehlé, Jean-Philippe Écoffey, Johan Leysen, Julie-Anne Roth, Julien Rassam, Laure Marsac, Luís Gaspar, Marc Citti, Marina Golovine, Miguel Bosé, Nicolas Vaude, Orazio Massaro, Otto Tausig, Pascal Greggory, Philippe Duclos, Thomas Kretschmann, Tolsty, Ulrich Wildgruber, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Vincent Perez, Virna Lisi

Director: Patrice Chéreau

Before assassin protege Mathilda in Léon the Professional, humanoid Leeloo in The Fifth Element, and superpowered drug mule Lucy in her titular film, Luc Besson first discovered his love for the badass female assassin in La Femme Nikita. Scored by European synth and shot with cinematography that still looks fresh today, the action thriller delivers pure adrenaline– the guns, the kills, and the drama of the hidden life– but the stylish spy film transcends the genre through the Pygmalion-esque transformation of Nikita’s femininity, a faux identity forged and crafted in the service of the government machine, yet both attracts the idea of and clashes with the want for genuine freedom and a good, normal life. It’s because of these existential ideas that La Femme Nikita became one of the most iconic femme fatales of the 20th century.

Genre: Action, Thriller

Actor: Alexis Dupuy, Anne Parillaud, Bruno Randon, Christian Gazio, Edith Perret, Éric Prat, Gérard Touratier, Hubert Gillet, Iska Khan, Jacques Boudet, Jacques Disses, Jean Bouise, Jean Reno, Jean-Claude Bolle-Reddat, Jean-Hugues Anglade, Jean-Luc Caron, Jeanne Moreau, Jérôme Chalou, Marc Duret, Maurice Antoni, Mia Frye, Michèle Amiel, Murray Gronwall, Olivier Hémon, Patrick Buiquangda, Patrick Chauveau, Patrick Fontana, Patrick Pérez, Patrick Serrière, Pavel Slabý, Pétronille Moss, Philippe Dehesdin, Philippe du Janerand, Philippe Leroy, Pierre-Alain de Garrigues, Rénos Mandis, Roland Blanche, Stéphane Fey, Tchéky Karyo, Vincent Skimenti

Director: Luc Besson

Rating: R

A funny, feel-good French movie about a man who joins a synchronized swim team to get over his depression. Comprised only of other middle-aged men, they decide they want to compete for the world championship. Sounds like an unlikely story? It's actually based on a real-life documentary from Sweden called Men Who Swim. If you get French humor, this will make you laugh (a lot), and if not, you'll surely enjoy the easygoing tone of Sink or Swim.

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Actor: Alban Ivanov, Alexandre Courtes, Anderz Eide, Audrey Quoturi, Benoît Poelvoorde, Benoît Poelvoorde, Caroline Grant, Charlotte Levy, Christian Gazio, Claire Nadeau, Élodie Hesme, Erika Sainte, Félix Moati, Felix Moati, Fiorella Campanella, Guillaume Canet, Guillaume Cloud-Roussel, Ibrahim Koma, Jean-Hugues Anglade, Jonathan Zaccaï, Karim Adda, Leïla Bekhti, Leila Bekhti, Marina Foïs, Marina Fois, Mathieu Amalric, Mathieu Torloting, Maximilien Poullein, Mélanie Doutey, Michèle Clément, Noée Abita, Philippe Katerine, Pierre Pirol, Sam Chemoul, Stéphane Rouabah, Vincent Darmuzey, Virgile Bramly, Virginie Efira, Xavier Alcan

Director: Gilles Lellouche

Rating: N/A

Betty Blue looks gorgeous. Of course, as an erotic film, there’s the beauty of the female form, but Jean-Jacques Beineix frames each moment in excellently lit, colorful frames, making each sunkissed scene a pleasure for the eyes. His approach, alongside that of Luc Besson and Leos Carax, have formed a movement titled Cinéma du look, and inspired plenty of films due to how gorgeous this style looks. But frankly, the style is the only thing that makes Betty Blue watchable, as the plot plays out with the usual aspiring artist, whose talents are recognized by stunning beauties that somehow turn insane for no reason and thus become future muses for their work. We’d hate to be that guy’s girlfriend.

Genre: Drama, Romance

Actor: André Julien, Béatrice Dalle, Catherine D'At, Claude Aufaure, Claude Confortès, Clémentine Célarié, Consuelo De Haviland, Dominique Besnehard, Dominique Pinon, Gérard Darmon, Jacques Mathou, Jean-Hugues Anglade, Nathalie Dalyan, Philippe Laudenbach, Raoul Billerey, Robin Bernard, Simon de La Brosse, Vincent Lindon

Director: Jean-Jacques Beineix

Rating: Not Rated