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French Films on streaming platforms

Meanwhile the Médiathèque and the Bibliothèque Quentin Blake of the Institut Français du Royaume-Uni are closed, we have compiled a list of streaming platforms where you can watch French films.

Free movies with Mubi

A special partnership allows viewers in the United-Kingdom to connect to Mubi for free during the first 3 months.

We recommend: La bande des quatre by Jaques Rivette


Over 3000 French Films available, from classics to recently released gems.

We recommend: Hiroshima mon amour by Alain Resnais

Based on a novel by Marguerite Duras, this film is one of the most beautiful poems that cinema has given us.

Other suggestions: Portrait de la jeune fille en feu by Céline Sciamma ; La promesse de l'aube by Eric Barbier ; Ce qui nous lie by Cédric Klapish ; Une saison en France by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun; Jeanne by Bruno Dumont. Back in January, he gave a masterclass at the cinema. Watch it here.

Céline Sciamma, Cédric Klapish, and Mahamat-Saleh Haroun have also greeted the Institut with their presence in the past. Have a look at the sound archives in Culturethèque – our digital library.

Madelen by INA

Another platform that offers a 3 months free trial. Cinephiles rejoice!

We recommend: Au hasard Balthazar by Robert Bresson

“The eye solicited alone makes the ear impatient, the ear solicited alone makes the eye impatient. Use these impatiences. Power of the cinematographer who appeals to the two senses in a governable way. Against the tactics of speed, of noise, set tactics of slowness, of silence.” ―Robert Bresson

Benshi ( for kids)

Discover the treasures of French animation. Benshi definitely offers memorable viewings for kids (and adults alike).

*(for the moment only available in France and DOM TOM)

We recommend: Azur et Asmar by Michel Ocelot

Other suggestions: Le tableau by Jean-François Laguionie ; Ernest et Celestine by Benjamin Renner ; Kerety et la maison des contes by Dominique Monféry ; La prophétie des grenouilles by Jacques-Rémy Girerd.


Many documentaries and world cinema are available on this streaming platform especially designed for libraries.

We recommend: Renoir by Gilles Bourdos

Other suggestions: Makala by Emmanuel Gras ; Le prénom by Matthieu Delaport ; Perdrix by Erwan Le Duc; Dior and I by Frédéric Tcheng; Crazy Horse, La Comédie Française and La Danse – The Paris Opera Ballet by Frederick Wiseman.

A tireless explorer of human nature, Frederick Wiseman has set out to show how men live in a collection of amazing documentaries about key world institutions. With his camera he took a closer look at cabarets and the Paris burlesque but also meticulously filmed what happens behind the scenes at La Comédie Française and L'Opéra de Paris. His reportages are considered to be masterpieces by many and they have influenced great directors from Martin Scorsese to David Simon.

Kanopy also has a great selection of animation films: Une vie de chat (A cat in Paris) by Alain Gagnol ; Ma vie de Courgette (My life as a Zucchini) by Claude Barras ; Tout en Haut du monde (Long way North) by Rémi Chayé ; Dilili à Paris (Dilili in Paris) by Michel Ocelot ; Les Hirondelles de Kaboul (The Swallows of Kabul) by Zabou Breitman.

By watching these animated French classics as opposed to your Disney/Pixar favourites dubbed in French, you'll get an inside look at French values and lifestyle.

In 2012, Alain Gagnol was nominated for an Academy Award for the animated movie A Cat in Paris – a story about a house cat by day who becomes a cat burglar by night. A true love letter to film noir and jazz.

Both Alain Gagnol and Gilles Bourdos presented their respective movies at the Cinema Lumière and answered a Q&A. Listen back to their talks.


No need to introduce this major streaming platform. However you might have overlooked some of the French movies and series available.

We recommend: Divines by Houda Benyamina

Divines was screened in the Directors' Fortnight section at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival and Houda Benyamina won the Caméra d'Or.

Other suggestions: Visages Villages (Faces Places) by Agnès Varda ; Atlantique by Mati Diop ; J'ai perdu mon corps (I lost my body) by Jeremy Clapin ; Much loved by Nabil Ayouch ; L'ascension (The Climb) with French actor Omar Sy ; Voulez vous rire avec moi ce soir from stand-up comedian Blanche Gardin.

While detective series such as Marseille, La Mante, Glacé and Zone Blanche are getting increasingly popular on the platform, we would like to give a special mention to Mytho

(Mythomaniac in English). Directed by Fabric Gobert (Les Revenants), it is a story about a working mom who, in order to win back the attention of her family, feigns a medical diagnosis. Fun and heartening, we loved it and we hope you will to.

Marina Hands won the Best Actress Award at the festival Séries Mania for her role as Elvira

And last but not least, a live masterclass with the radical French filmmaker Claire Denis

will take place on Wednesday 29 of April 2020 at 2PM (UK LOCAL TIME) as part of the festival Visions du Réel.

To listen to previous masterclasses and talks which took place at the Institut Français du Royaume Uni over the years, register to Culturethèque and have a browse!

Archives include discussions with Isabelle Huppert and Claude Lanzman.

Happy watching!

Follow us on instagram @culturetheque for more news

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