Rules for French Movies

Compiled from two posts to my own livejournal in July and October 2002

Restated and Revised, somewhat. The original was just one rule: after ten minutes (subjective) you will see gratutitous nudity. However, since they took my TV5 away, I've not caught any French movies, until last night; apparently Network 2 has discovered that French Movies With Nudity get them an audience, and are cheap. So, based on watching the last twenty minutes of Les Filles ne savent pas nager (1999), plus prior experience, I present the new Rules of French Movies.

  1. There will be nudity within 10 minutes of you starting to watch the movie. Regardless of where in the movie you start.
  2. However, this does not translate to start-to-finish nudity; if you watch the whole movie, there will be nudity at the start, and teasers for the rest of the movie that never actually lead to nudity.
  3. There will be no discernable plot.
  4. The nudity will be entirely gratuituous. There will be no actual plot-based nudity, because there is no plot.
  5. The nudity will generally be complete, i.e. full-frontals are not particularly rare.
  6. Female nudity is more common than male, but that's not to say that there's no male nudity.
  7. "Lolita"-nudity, or "Barely Legal"-nudity if that's more your speed, isn't particularly rare either. I have no idea what the legal requirements are for age-vs.-nudity in French law.
  8. Parts of the plot, sorry, plotless series of images, that don't involve nudity will be utterly incomprehensible to you. Popular themes include families, murder, art, and water (rivers, canals, seas) and, of course, artistic murders of families next to or on the water.
That concludes today's lesson. This will be on the term paper.

As luck would have it, I got to watch most of another french movie some months later, courtesy of the fact that I was in a hotel with TV5 on the channel list. So. Applying the rules to the movie:

1. There will be nudity within 10 minutes of you starting to watch the movie. Regardless of where in the movie you start.

There was indeed nudity ten minutes after I started watching. This is the rule that makes me giggle most frequently because it makes no sense in the context of rule two, but I have yet to have it fail on me.

2. However, this does not translate to start-to-finish nudity; if you watch the whole movie, there will be nudity at the start, and teasers for the rest of the movie that never actually lead to nudity.

There was not start-to-finish nudity, although there was more than teaser nudity for the amount of the movie I saw.

3. There will be no discernable plot.

There was no discernable plot. What little there was seemed to revolve around a bunch of men and women who were doing separate things for a week - sort of like a guys/girls weekend - except there was one woman, two older teenage girls, one younger teenage girl, and three kids with the bunch of men, and one of the bunch of women seemed to be on a hopeless manhunt.

4. The nudity will be entirely gratuituous. There will be no actual plot-based nudity because there is no plot.

The nudity was pretty much entirely gratuitious. Especially the bit where the manhunt woman passed out and revealed more than the required amount of breast while lying on the ground. And the penis shot.

5. The nudity will generally be complete, i.e. full-frontals are not particularly rare.

No full frontals, unless you count the penis shot which wasn't complete nudity, so this rule failed this time around. But then, I didn't see the whole movie.

6. Female nudity is more common than male, but that's not to say that there's no male nudity.

The aforementioned penis shot. I'd describe the scenario, but even given the lack of plot it still doesn't make any sense. I think it was supposed to be a dream sequence.

7. "Lolita"-nudity, or "Barely Legal"-nudity if that's more your speed, isn't particularly rare either. I have no idea what the legal requirements are for age-vs.-nudity in French law.

There was both "Lolita"-nudity and "Barely Legal" nudity, in that pretty much the entire female cast in the male side of the story (still with me?) got somewhat naked at one point. The two older teenagers even managed to get a topless catfight in (they were arguing over which tops to wear).

8. Parts of the plot, sorry, plotless series of images, that don't involve nudity will be utterly incomprehensible to you. Popular themes include families, murder, art, and water (rivers, canals, seas) and, of course, artistic murders of families next to or on the water.

Incomprehensible plot points, check. Families, check. Murder, no, but attempted suicide, which is close enough. Art, check. Water, check. This is almost as funny as rule one. For bonus points, the attempted suicide was by a family member who attempted to drown herself.

So, seven of eight rules applied. I think this establishes the value of these rules.


Waider