Renaissance

Style for days.

This gorgeous black-and-white animated film, aimed squarely at adults and not kiddos, is a swirling mix of eye-popping images and brain-shattering plot twists.

Set in 2054 Paris, it follows a police captain trying to untangle a mystery revolving around the kidnapping of a young scientist who was hot on the heels of a cure for a rare genetic condition.

Shady people are everywhere, evil corporations rule from on high, and our main cop, a man of great principle, but flexible ethics, sinks ever-deeper into a world which ignores his pleas for help.

A true hidden gem.

 

Noir c’est noir

The Dude abides.

France’s answer to Elvis, the ever-rockin’ Johnny Hallyday was the fashion icon Johnny Depp aspires to be, a tabloid-pleasing wild man who remains an icon three years after his death.

He did it all — topping 110 million record sales, starring in 30+ movies, and marrying five times.

Wikipedia estimates he sung around 1,154 songs during a 57-year career, but this is the one I love.

It’s a remake of Black is Black by Los Bravos — one of the great underappreciated tunes of all time — and Hallyday’s version topped the charts for seven weeks straight.

Swing those hips, baby!

 

The Red Balloon

The film of our childhood.

Created in 1956 Paris, this film was seemingly screened in every American classroom in the ’70s and ’80s.

If there’s a Generation X kid out there who didn’t see this — the only short film to win a Best Screenplay Oscar — that there’s a kid who was home-schooled, is what I’m saying.

The film, crafted with great love by writer/director Albert Lamorisse, is a simple tale of a young boy and the bright red balloon which comforts and captivates him.

Movies come and go, but this one will forever live on in our brains.

 

Amélie

Dazzling and delightful.

Audrey Tautou, France’s answer to Audrey Hepburn, glows with an otherworldly vitality in this most-charming of rom coms.

A lonely waitress who was raised believing she has a heart defect, Amélie sets out to bring happiness into other’s lives, one small gesture at a time.

Along the way, her own built-up defenses begin to subtly crack, offering her a far-fetched, but very real, shot at her own burst of joy through a romance with an equally one-of-a-kind dude.

If some movies are rays of sunshine, this Gallic winner offers up the whole blazing ball of fire.

 

Igorrr – Very Noise

Insane in the membrane.

Two-and-a-half minutes of beyond-surreal images, accompanied by a throbbing beat (but no lyrics), this music video is nothing if not eye-catching.

It’s the work of French musician Gautier Serre, who named his band after a pet gerbil, and delivers a unique “sound” which creates “an intense, disturbing, and undeniably distinct experience.”

He also won the “The Bat-Shit Crazy Album Of The Year Award,” which is something you should always put at the top of your bio.

Do I want to hear any more of his music? Not necessarily.

But I do love his trippy visuals.