The Midwife (Sage Femme) dir. Martin Provost

Claire Breton is surrounded by life. She is an old-school midwife, coaching women in the art of breathing, listening to their bodies, and making birth joyful. She owns a little patch of a vegetable garden on the banks of the Seine, where her tomatoes and lettuces flourish. Her son Simon is about to become a…

Frantz by François Ozon

Frantz Hoffmeister, a soldier, fiancé, son, and friend, is dead and thus physically absent, but you know from the first five minutes of the film that he will continue to be unnervingly present. Like memories of World War I and the resentment between Germans and French at that time, Frantz is kept alive. His young…

The Rules of the Game (1939)

A precursor to The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, My Man Godfrey and Gosford Park, Renoir’s generous and attentive eye captured a slice of the haut bourgeois life immediately preceding World War II. This compelling (and I might even say, addictive) film was a critical and box-office flop when it premiered, but has since influenced…