French film Friday: the female protagonist – top 5 favourite films

MyFrenchLife™ – – French film Friday: the female protagonist – iconic female roles in French cinema

Happy Friday! We’re bringing back 5 of our all-time favourite French film recommendations to ease you into the weekend. This Friday, our focus is on the female protagonist in French film.

In recognition of the status of feminism in French film, we’re shining the spotlight on strong female leads. Spirited, honest, stubborn, imperfect, beguiling, flawed; these female protagonists each evoke a segment of the human spirit.

Meet our favourite female protagonists in French film.

1. Female protagonist: French film – Suzanne

As one of the most decorated French films in the Alliance Française French Film Festival, with its César nominations and Cannes accolades, ‘Suzanne’ is well worth watching.

We follow a 25-year narrative that explores the lives of Suzanne (Sara Forestier) and her family.

The concepts of destiny, necessity, and chance interact to deliver a series of events that will leave you charged with the sentiment. Read more.

2. Female protagonist: French film – Hors de prix

I know some people don’t like this French film. I am not one of them. Is it a superficial flick? I don’t think so, but I can see why one might.

‘Priceless’ tells the tale of gold-digger Irène and accidental gold-digger Jean (played by the adorable Gad Elmaleh) as they have affairs with rich people and slowly fall in love with each other.

I won’t lie, I found Jean’s initial puppy dog please-love-me routine a bit much at times, but the overall movie is so funny, unapologetically amoral and romantic that I forgive him. Read more.

3. Female protagonist: French film – Populaire

This light-hearted French comedy, true to its name, is quite the crowd pleaser.

A homage to the 1950s American rom-com, this film exudes nostalgic Hollywood glamour while remaining discernibly French.

The effect is colourful, playful, and genuinely delightful.

Populaire’ won the Audience Award at the 2013 Césars, was nominated for five other categories, and enjoyed success at various film festivals around the world. Read more.

4. Female protagonist: French film – Camille Claudel

Set in the 1880s, ‘Camille Claudel’ portrays the life of the famous French sculptor.

The film, which won César awards for Best Film and Best Actress, documents Claudel’s career as a young artist under the instruction of Auguste Rodin, played by Gerard Depardieu.

The two embark on a tempestuous romantic affair that crumbles when Rodin falls for another woman. Read more.

5. Female protagonist: French film – La Belle Saison

‘La Belle Saison’, a French-Belgian award-winning film co-written and directed by Catherine Corsini, depicts the tumultuous and evocative love story of two women in the 1970s.

Delphine, a young woman, born into a simple country life in Limousin, is searching for something more.

She moves to Paris, where she is swept up by the exciting activities of a feminist group and by the charismatic Carole, a Spanish teacher who lives with her boyfriend.

Despite this, the two women become inseparable and a passionate love affair ensues. Read more.

Which are your favourite female protagonists in French film? We’d love you to share your thoughts in the comments box below.

Image credits:
1. Woman’s eye, via Unsplash
2. Suzanne, via YouTube
3. Hors de prix, via YouTube
4. Populaire, via YouTube
5. Camille Claudel, via YouTube
6. La Belle Saison, via YouTube

About the Contributor

Judy MacMahon

Experience FRANCE beyond the CLICHÉ with MyFrenchLife is for Curious Savvy Francophiles wherever you are. Meet Francophiles in France, online, and/or wherever you live. You’re very welcome to join us - Judy MacMahon -

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One Comment

  1. Hannah West Jan 18, 2018 at 8:49 AM - Reply

    Thanks for the populaire recommendation, loved it! I have seen hors de prix too and also loved it. Can you recommend any others close to these as the others didn’t appeal to me as much. I have seen lots of Audrey tatou movies, maybe i’ve seen too many, lol. Grateful for any more recommendations x

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