05/10/2012 02:20 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

My Favorite French Films

Why French films? If you watch the below five titles, you'll know it. But to put it into words, French film to me is: aesthetics, subtleties, sensuality. Like no other filmmakers, the French understand the art of communicating without telling. They know how to draw you into the screen, because they give away so little. Here are my favorites:

Trois Couleurs Bleu -- Kieslowski
One of the first films I ever saw, this may be what lured me into film acting. It's a very intense, super cinematic film about a young widow who grieves over her daughter and composer husband. Juliette Binoche is intensely gripping (even though she doesn't shed a single tear during the whole film) and it is a fantastic lead part for Preisner's music.

Belle de Jour -- Lois Bunuel
A super sexy film with a very young Catherine Deneuve who is stuck in a boring bourgeois self-image and equivalently boring marriage. The film creates a parallel world in which she prostitutes herself to a varied clientele...

La Pianiste -- Michael Haneke
This is a sinister film about a psychologically troubled piano teacher who has issues with intimacy. As dark as the theme of the film is, the looks of it are esthetic, clean and clinical.

La Piscine -- Jacques Deray
This film oozes sensuality. Alain Delon and Romy Schneider spend a summer at the pool in southern France and when she invites her former lover, jealousy and intrigue take over. Nothing is being said or done in this film, it all happens under the skin. And there sure is a lot of skin!

La Vie en Rose -- Olivier Dahan
This film is about the life of Edith Piaf, from rise to fall. It makes you forget time and space and everything around you. An amazing performance by Marion Cotillard!