10 reasons why French comedies are so successful | Film | DW | 25.09.2015
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10 reasons why French comedies are so successful

A series of French comedy films have been drawing record audiences to cinemas across France - and the world. Here are 10 good reasons why they're so popular.

Films such as "Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis" ("Welcome to the Sticks," 2008), "Intouchables" ("The Intouchables," 2011), and "Qu'est-ce qu'on a fait au Bon Dieu?" ("Serial (Bad) Weddings," 2014) were translated into many languages and gave good laughs to millions of moviegoers.

The latest in the genre, "Un moment d'égarement" ("One Wild Moment"), stars Vincent Cassel and Francois Cluzet. It went straight to the top of the box office when it came out in France in June, and it is now being released in Germany.

Why are French comedies so successful?

Here are 10 reasons:

1. The French film industry has big stars.

France has its own pool of celebrities - and they are sometimes more important than the movie itself. Despite its harmless plot, "One Wild Moment" can count on Vincent Cassel and François Cluzet to attract the crowds.

2. France has stunning locations.

The country is just filled with incredible locations. If filmmakers need a coastline, they can take their pick - whether in Normandy, Brittany, on the Atlantic coast or the French Riviera. But they can also spend the next day shooting in the Alps or in the French Provence. And Paris obviously remains an unmatched urban film setting.

Film still Un moment d'égarement (One Wild Moment), Copyright: La Petite Reine - Roger Arpajou

An older Vincent Cassel is still ready for l'amour fou

3. Everyone dreams of passion.

Falling in love the French way might be a cliché, but France is definitely the country which produced the most wonderful tales of uncontrollable passion, or "l'amour fou." "One Wild Moment" borrows on that same sensual theme: A divorced father (Vincent Cassel) falls for the daughter of his friend, a young 18-year-old (played by Lola Le Lann).

4. French films know how to be light.

Right from the beginning of film history, French directors have specialized in light entertainment, whether through drama, love stories, comedies or family movies. They often manage to insert lighter scenes into hardcore emotional films - and it doesn't feel awkward.

5. They combine both serious art and popular entertainment.

Germany typically makes a distinction between entertainment and serious art. French movies elegantly combine both.

6. France knows how to export its films.

Many French stars also play in movies abroad, in Europe and Hollywood. Synchronized versions of French films work well too. France is one of the most successful cinema exporters.

The Intouchables, Copyright: dpa - Bildfunk

"The Intouchables," starring Omar Sy, was a box office hit in 2011

7. The film industry integrates multiculturalism.

The actor Omar Sy, son of a Senegalese father and a Mauritanian mother, played a major role in making the film "The Intouchables" such a huge box office success. The director Abdellatif Kechiche, who won the Palme d'Or in Cannes in 2013 with "Blue Is The Warmest Color," has Tunisian roots. French cinema has recently started celebrating multiculturalism - and that works well.

8. French films are aesthetically innovative.

With the "Nouvelle Vague" movement in the 60s, France reinvented cinema. Since then, it has been considered an innovative film country - rightly so.

9. France has a strong cinematic tradition.

France wouldn't be France if it weren't proud of its roots. After all, the country is considered the birthplace of cinema: The Brothers Auguste and Louis Lumière shot the first true motion picture, and at the beginning of the 20th century, Georges Méliès was a pioneer of special effects. France is proud of its cinematic tradition - and this can be felt to this day. Film is a celebrated and prestigious art form throughought the country.

10. The French still flock to movie theaters.

There are cinemas all over the country. Even in the digital age, smaller towns still boast many movie theaters. The number of cinemas in Paris is simply phenomenal. And these theaters do not just offer the omnipresent Hollywood blockbusters: France is one of the few countries in the world where domestic productions remain predominant.

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