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31 Movies You Need To See To Pull Off Your Cool French-Girl Persona

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    How do we define the Cool French Girl? That is the question.

    She is, as the moniker implies, the very definition of cool. But what does that even mean? Are there different kinds of Cool French Girls? Varying levels of cool? Can one be a Cool French Girl without actually being French?

    To get to the bottom of this existential question, I turned to the movies. My theory: Marion Cotillard might just hold the key to that indescribable très chic aura. Catherine Deneuve could potentially teach me to project that sultry yet carefree allure. Or maybe — if I observed Brigitte Bardot long enough — I'd also absorb just a fraction of her je ne sais quoi.

    I cannot confirm if any of those things happened. However, I did compile a handy guide for those who, like me, strive to internalise the enigma of the Cool French Girl. Naturally, some of these films feature our favourite French stars. Some are simply required viewing for anyone who's putting on Gallic airs. All of them are magnifiques.

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    Amélie (2001)

    Where would a modern French film roundup be without the quirkiest one of them all?

    Audrey Tautou is Amélie Poulain, a charmingly bizarre Parisienne whose hobbies include cracking the crust of her crème brulée and skipping stones on the Canal St-Martin. Like Jane Austen's Emma, she's convinced she can change the lives of those around her for the better — until she realises that she is the one who's life is really in need of a shake up.

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    Breathless (1960)

    When you say Paris, I picture Jean Seberg — an American, but honorary French girl — strolling down a Parisian boulevard.

    Michel (Jean-Paul Belmondo), a charming rogue and petty criminal, finds himself in a spot of trouble when he steals a car and shoots a cop. While on the run, he turns to American student and aspiring journalist Patricia (Seberg), who hides him — until she finds out exactly what he's done.

    This '60s classic basically launched the French New Wave era. Enjoy with a fresh baguette and a glass of crisp white wine.

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    The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg (1964)

    If you're not into musicals, steer clear of this one — even the most trivial conversations are conveyed in song.

    Though, you'd really be missing out: no one does the Cool-French-Girl-on-a-bicycle look quite like Catherine Deneuve.


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    La Boum (1980)

    For those who think all French movies are highbrow, think of this as a Gallic version of Pretty In Pink.

    Sophie Marceau plays 13-year-old Vic, who is desperate to attend a major party. Add teenage boy problems and a parental affair into the mix, and you have a true recipe for '80s drama.

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    Jules & Jim (1962)

    Jules meets Jim. Jules and Jim meet Catherine. Jules falls in love with Catherine. Jim falls in love with Catherine. Catherine picks Jules. Jules and Jim fight World War I on opposite sides. They reunite. Catherine picks Jim. Catherine picks Jules and Jim. (You get the picture.)

    Directed by François Truffaut, this iconic film is sexy and scandalous. Most importantly, Jeanne Moreau rocks a striped sailor shirt like a boss. A cool French boss of course.