Smoking Causes Coughing (Fumer fait tousser): B- This has a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes, not because it’s fantastic, but because it can absolutely pierce the insane tolerance to the whiles of normal film that movie critics build up. The genre is listed as, “Comedy, Fantasy, Horror,” and that checks out. I think it’s technically an action hero movie, which goes against my principles, but it’s actually a series of comedy-horror vignettes which aren’t all that funny or horror-inducing but are…. thought provoking? I’d like to give it props for being only 1:15 long yet covering plenty of… something.

The Man in the Hat: B. This isn’t actually a French movie (It’s a UK movie), though it’s set in France, and the half-dozen lines of dialogue are in French. It’s mostly dialogue-free, very weird, and also pleasantly delightful. While not especially coherent, it manages to be more plot-driven than the rest of the French movies I’ve watched lately. It’s got a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes for much the same reasons as the previous mention–it manages to be completely unlike any other movie.

Zero Fucks Given (Rien à foutre): B-. Probably worth watching just to watch Adèle Exarchopoulos. It’s slow-moving, subtle, but eventually coherent. The rare art house movie where the last half is significantly better than the first half. The premise–young flight attendant comes to terms with life–isn’t much, but I’m impressed with how subtly some pretty intense stuff was presented. The flight attendant details were hilarious and mostly-believable, though I think the euro budget airlines have to deal with stuff that I did not.

Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (technically Belgian, not French): C+. Rated by a not-insignificant number of critics as the greatest movie of all time. It’s not my thing, but if you’ve ever wondered how much emotion could be conveyed by a single actress peeling two potatoes for 10 minutes, this sets a pretty high bar. It’s more than 3 hours where nearly nothing happens, and yet I was never tempted to turn it off. I did not find the experience of repeatedly waiting for a very slow elevator that’s always on the wrong floor to be pleasant, but I do appreciate the filmmaking. The most pleasant parts of the film are when Jeanne manages to leave or return to the apartment and the elevator-riding scenes are cut! Somehow we, the viewer, are occasionally allowed to imagine the elevator ride ourselves! Or maybe not even think about the elevator ride!

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