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Added by Kankku on 5 Feb 2011 06:42
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New French Extremity

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Gaspar Noé

People who added this item 131 Average listal rating (66 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.1
Noé’s first major film was the 40-minute Carne (1991), produced through his partnership with filmmaker Lucile Hadzihalilovic (La Bouche de Jean-Pierre [1995], L’Ecole [2003]), Les Cinémas de la zone, in 1991. The film, a tale of a horse butcher who takes revenge on a man he mistakenly believes to have raped his autistic daughter, marks not only the first time Noé incorporated on-screen textual warnings, epigrams, and notes into the filmic narrative, but also the first collaboration with actor Philippe Nahon who has appeared in all of Noé’s subsequent features. Carne also includes a number of ‘shock’ elements such as gunshot sound effects, loud martial chords on the soundtrack, and rapid editing that would become major characteristics of his style in the later Seul contre tous (1998).

“Everybody said, no, do a normal movie. Carne was too violent, now you have to calm down, you have to grow up. Why don’t you do a genre film?” -Gaspar Noé

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People who added this item 401 Average listal rating (200 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.3
The Butcher (known from Noe's short film Carne) has done some time in jail after beating up the guy who tried to seduce his teenage mentally-handicapped daughter. Now he wants to start a new life. He leaves his daughter in an institution and moves to Lille suburbs with his mistress. She promised him a new butcher shop. She lied. The butcher decides to go back to Paris and find his daughter.

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People who added this item 1520 Average listal rating (916 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.3
Events over the course of one traumatic night in Paris unfold in reverse-chronological order as the beautiful Alex is brutally raped and beaten by a stranger in the underpass. Her boyfriend and ex-lover take matters into their own hands by hiring two criminals to help them find the rapist so that they can exact revenge. A simultaneously beautiful and terrible examination of the destructive nature of cause and effect, and how time destroys everything.

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Bruno Dumont

A social movie about life nowadays in the north of France. Freddy and his friends are all unemployed. They try to pass away the time by wandering around on their motorcycles and by directing their aggressive feelings towards Arabic immigrants. Freddy is in love with Marie, a cashier at a local supermarket. When she is proposed by Kader, an young Arab man, Freddy and his friends have an idea: they decide to punish Kader for what they call "such a provocation." After they have raped another girl, Marie finally commits to Kader, which seals his fate.

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People who added this item 92 Average listal rating (41 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 6.8
In a town near Lille, melancholy police superintendent Pharaon De Winter lives with his mother. An 11-year-old girl has been raped and murdered. Over the next week, De Winter investigates and grieves, his face nearly expressionless. He bikes, he gardens. He accompanies his neighbors, Joseph and Domino, to dinner and to the seaside; he even observes them in vigorous if not rough coitus. For Domino, sex seems her way of connecting. Does she fancy Pharaon? A plowed field, the sea, Pharaon's flowers, the pudenda of Domino and of the ravaged girl - this mix of images of beauty, evil, and possibility assaults Pharaon as he tries to do his job and hold on to his humanity.

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People who added this item 106 Average listal rating (43 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 5.3
David, an independent photographer, and Katia, an unemployed woman, leave Los Angeles, en route to the southern California desert, where they search a natural set to use as a backdrop for a magazine photo shoot. They find a motel in the town of Twentynine Palms and spend their days in their sport-utility vehicle, discovering the Joshua Tree Desert, and losing themselves on nameless roads and trails. Frantically making love all the time and almost everywhere, they regularly fight, then kiss and make up, with little else going on in their empty relationship and quite ordinary daily life--until something horrible and hideous brutally puts an end to their trip.

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People who added this item 59 Average listal rating (25 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 6.5
Flanders (2006)
Flanders tells the story of Demester, a man whose girlfriend cheats on him out of frustration with his lack of emotion. Demester is then sent to war, in an unnamed Middle Eastern country, where he experiences (and participates in) the horrors of war.

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Catherine Breillat

People who added this item 255 Average listal rating (146 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.4
A Ma Soeur! is a provocative and shocking drama about sibling rivalry, family discord and relationships. Elena is 15, beautiful and flirtatious. Her less confident sister, Anais, is 12, and constantly eats. On holiday, Elena meets a young Italian student who is determined to seduce her. Anais is forced to watch in silence, conspiring with the lovers, but harbouring jealousy and similar desires. Their actions, however, have unforeseen tragic consequences for the whole family.

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People who added this item 133 Average listal rating (71 ratings) 4.9 IMDB Rating 4.4
A man rescues a woman from a suicide attempt in a gay nightclub. Walking the streets together, she propositions him: She'll pay him to visit her at her isolated house for four consecutive nights. There he will silently watch her. He's reluctant, but agrees. As the four nights progress, they become more intimate with each other, and a mutual fascination/revulsion develops. By the end of the four-day "contract", these two total strangers will have had a profound impact on each other.

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People who added this item 172 Average listal rating (80 ratings) 5.9 IMDB Rating 5.2
Romance (1999)
Marie is unfulfilled by her relationship with Paul, her narcissistic male model boyfriend who refuses to show her any kind of physical affection, much less make love to her. Frustrated, she decides to take matters into her own hands, and search for intimacy beyond the bounds of traditional sexual limitations, a journey that proves to be both fulfilling and empowering.

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François Ozon

People who added this item 34 Average listal rating (17 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.8
Sasha, a young British woman, is living with her baby daughter at Ile d'Yeu, a peaceful beach community. A stranger appears. Her name is Tatiana, she's passing through, and pitches her tent in Sasha's yard. The two women build an odd rapport, and tension builds as events unfold.

People who added this item 181 Average listal rating (47 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.6
The lives of a seemingly normal bourgeois family are turned upside down after the arrival of an innocent looking pet rat. Their twisted dysfunctional adventures begin with the younger brother's discovery of his homosexuality, the elder sister's suicide attempt and sado-masochist tendencies, and the intrusion of a very free-spirited maid and her husband.

People who added this item 79 Average listal rating (34 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.5
Alice is a bored, spoiled high schooler with a gorgeous body and a sociopathic mind. She persuades one of her suitors, the naive and trusting Luc, to murder another suitor, the handsome, rakish Said.

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Claire Denis

People who added this item 260 Average listal rating (107 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 5.9
Shane and June Brown are an American couple honeymooning in Paris in an effort to nurture their new life together, a life complicated by Shane''s mysterious and frequent visits to a medical clinic where cutting edge studies of the human libido are undertaken. When Shane seeks out a self-exiled expert in the field, he happens upon the doctor''s wife, another victim of the same malady. She has become so dangerous and emotionally paralyzed by the condition that her husband imprisons her by day in their home. It is Shane's chance encounter with this woman that triggers an event so cataclysmic and shocking it might just lead him to rediscover the tranquility he seeks to restore for himself and his new bride.

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Patrice Chereau

People who added this item 162 Average listal rating (58 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 6.1
Jay, a failed musician, walked out of his family and now earns a living as head bartender in a trendy London pub. Every Wednesday afternoon a woman comes to his house for graphic, almost wordless, sex. One day Jay follows her and finds out about the rest of her life (and that her name is Claire). This eventually disrupts their relationship.

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Bertrand Bonello

People who added this item 55 Average listal rating (19 ratings) 5.5 IMDB Rating 5.2
Jacques Laurent made pornographic films in the 1970's and '80's, but had put that aside for 20 years. His artistic ideas, born of the '60's counter-culture, had elevated the entire genre. Older and paunchier, he is now directing a porno again. Jacques's artistry clashes with his financially-troubled producer's ideas about shooting hard-core sex. Jacques has been estranged from his son Joseph for years, since the son first learned the nature of the family business. They are now speaking again. Joseph and his friends want to recapture the idealism of 1968 with a protest. Separated from his wife, Jacques strives for personal renewal with plans to build a new house by himself...

People who added this item 33 Average listal rating (15 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 6.3
Tiresia (2003)
Based on the ancient Greek myth of Tiresia, a blind prophet who was both woman and man. Here, Tiresia is a Brazilian transsexual living with her brother in the outskirts of Paris. After she is kidnapped and blinded by a psychopath, she gains the gift of seeing the future.

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Marina de Van

People who added this item 196 Average listal rating (73 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 6.2
A woman grows increasingly fascinated with her body after suffering a disfiguring accident.

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Leos Carax

People who added this item 155 Average listal rating (55 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 5.7
Pola X (1999)
Pierre, a young man of privilege, whose anonymously-published novel is a hit and who's about to marry his blond cousin, Lucie, abandons all when a dark-haired vagrant tells him her secret late one night in the woods: that she is Isabelle, his sister, abandoned by their father. Pierre breaks off with Lucie and his doting mother, heading for Paris with Isabelle, intent on knowing the dark side of human nature. He begins a novel, sending chapters under a pseudonym to his publisher; his relationship with Isabelle moves beyond the fraternal; and, in winter, the frail Lucie comes to live with them. Family jealousies mount, and Pierre may have discovered despair instead of the truth.

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Philippe Grandrieux

People who added this item 58 Average listal rating (19 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 6.1
A car, following the Tour de France. Children screaming in front of the puppet show. Women, often prostitutes, trying to scream as they are being strangled. Then he will meet Claire, the virgin who will give herself to him, and perhaps deliver him from his malediction.

Grandrieux's work plunges us into every kind of obscurity: moral ambiguity, narrative enigma, literal darkness. La Vie Nouvelle presents four characters in a severely depressed Sarajevo who are caught in a mysterious, death-driven web: the feckless American Seymour (Zach Knighton), his mysterious companion (lover? friend? brother? father?) Roscoe (Marc Barbé), the demonic Mafioso Boyan (Zsolt Nagy), and the prostitute-showgirl who is the exchange-token in all their relationships, Mélania (Anna Mouglalis).

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Jean-Claude Brisseau

People who added this item 75 Average listal rating (39 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6
Two young women find themselves struggling to survive in Paris, street-wise Nathalie, a stripper, and naïve Sandrine, a barmaid. Together, they discover that sex can be used to their advantage, and pleasure. Both find positions in the office of a large bank, where bored, under-stimulated, prey are easy pickings. After making their way though several layers of executives at the bank, with destructive, and lucrative, results, they approach Christophe, scion to the bank director. What they don't know is that Christophe is a manipulative voyeur, whose last two lovers set themselves on fire when he rejected them. A connoisseur of high-class orgies, Christophe is only interested in new talent to satisfy the appetites of all whom he controls. In Christophe, the girls have found an opponent who knows all their wiles, and will challenge their simple under-class friendship with levels of jealousy and ecstasy that they have never experienced before. Will they survive?

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Jacques Nolot

A tale set in a decaying Parisian porn theatre, where within its dark confines, male patrons--soldiers, transvestites, married men--regularly engage in anonymous sex acts. In the ticket booth of the theatre, a wise Italian woman serves as benevolent gatekeeper, observing--but never judging--the proceedings occurring under her watchful eyes. One day, one of her regulars engages her in a conversation that leads to an unusual friendship, as these two worldly souls share their common experiences.

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Alexandre Aja

People who added this item 698 Average listal rating (467 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 6.7
High Tension (2003)
Alexia travels with her friend Marie to spend a couple of days with her family in their farm in the country. They arrive late and they are welcomed by Alexia's father. Late in the night, a sadistic and sick killer breaks into the farmhouse, slaughters Alexia's family--including their dog--and kidnaps Alexia. Marie hides from the criminal and tries to help the hysterical and frightened Alexia, chase the maniac, and disclose his identity in the end.

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Coralie Trinh Thi and Virginie Despentes

People who added this item 291 Average listal rating (152 ratings) 4.6 IMDB Rating 4.5
Baise-Moi (2000)
Based on the novel by Virginie Despentes of the same title. Manu and Nadine lose their last tenuous relationship with main-stream society when Manu gets raped and Nadine sees her only friend being shot. After a chance encounter, they embark on an explosive journey of sex and murder. Perhaps as a revenge against men, perhaps as a revolt against bourgeois society, but certainly in a negation - almost joyful in its senseless violence - of all the codes of a society which has excluded, raped and humiliated them. Controversial for its violence and real sex scenes: a vividly nihilist road movie set in France.

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Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury

People who added this item 540 Average listal rating (317 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 6.7
Inside (2007)
Four months before Christmas, Sarah and Matthieu Scarangelo were in a car crash, of which Sarah and her unborn baby were the only survivors. On Christmas Eve, Sarah stays home alone, where she grieves her husband and prepares to go to the hospital the next morning for the delivery. As night falls, a woman knocks on Sarah's door asking to use the phone. When she refuses, the woman reveals that she knows Sarah and tries to force her way in. Sarah calls the police; they inspect the home and determine the woman has left, but promise to keep watch over Sarah through the night. The woman returns and tries to take Sarah's unborn child, but Sarah locks herself in the bathroom. The strange woman torments Sarah through the night and kills all who try help her.

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People who added this item 140 Average listal rating (66 ratings) 5.4 IMDB Rating 5.7
Livid (2011)
Young caregiver in training Lucie and two friends decide to rob the house of former ballet instructor Deborah Jessel, a comatose bed ridden old woman who is rumored to be the owner of valuable treasure.

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Olivier Assayas

People who added this item 74 Average listal rating (38 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 5.9
Diane works for a French firm bidding to purchase a Japanese animation outfit. Diane maliciously hatches a plot to take the job of her supervisor Karen. The plan succeeds, but then Diane faces problems when a competing American firm, represented by Elaine, becomes involved. Diane's assistant Elise remains loyal to Karen, and she frustrates Diane's every move. When it comes to light that the one of the concerned parties controls an Internet site which broadcasts actual torture, the plot thickens.

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Pascal Laugier

People who added this item 931 Average listal rating (577 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7
Martyrs (2008)
Fifteen years after a horrifying experience of abduction and prolonged torture, Lucie embarks on a bloody quest for revenge against her oppressors. Along with her childhood friend, Anna, who also suffered abuse, she quickly descends, without hope, into madness and her own delusions. Anna, left on her own begins to re-experience what Lucie did when she was only twelve years old.

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Bertrand Blier

People who added this item 3 Average listal rating (1 ratings) 4 IMDB Rating 4.9
Well into his sixties, iconoclast director Bertrand Blier continued to provoke Cannes audiences with this absurdist sex comedy in 2003. Les Côtelettes profiles the antics of two aging friends/antagonists who battle for the affections of one's maid. Leonce (Philippe Noiret) and Potier (Michel Bouquet) are polar opposites: the former a liberal member of the bourgeoisie, complete with a well-groomed son and an attractive mistress; the latter, a curmudgeonly right-wing ne'er-do-well who lives to upset the status quo. When Leonce's housekeeper Nacifa (Farida Rahouadj) enters the picture, the two become rivals, each attempting to bed her -- but both find themselves equally drawn to the attractive specter of Death (Catherine Hiegel) that appears before them. Les Côtelettes began life as Blier's stage play before the director committed it to the big screen.

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Xavier Gens

People who added this item 312 Average listal rating (184 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 6.2
Frontier(s) (2008)
In Paris, during the riots due to the election of a conservative candidate to the presidency of France, a group of four Muslin small-time criminal teenagers from the periphery; Alex, Tom, Farid, the pregnant Yasmine, and her brother Sami, plan to run away from Paris to Amsterdam with a bag full of robbed money. However, Sami is shot and the group split up, with Alex and Yasmine going to the emergency hospital with Sami while Tom and Farid head to the border with the money. Tom and Farid decide to stop in a bed and breakfast nearby the frontier, and are hosted by Gilberte and Klaudia that offer free room and sex to the newcomers. They call Alex and Yasmine who are fleeing from Paris to join them in the inn. But soon they discover that their hosts are sadistic cannibals of a Nazi family leaded by the deranged patriarch and former SS officer and Nazi war criminal Le Von Geisler who plans to make Yasmine the brood mare for a new Aryan master race.

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Franck Richard

People who added this item 43 Average listal rating (25 ratings) 5.5 IMDB Rating 4.8
The Pack (2010)
In the middle of a snowy no man's land, Charlotte picks up Max, a hitchhiker; they stop in a truck-stop restaurant, and when Max doesn't come back from the bathroom, Charlotte starts looking for him in vain. She decides to return during the night but gets kidnapped by the bartender, La Spack, who turns out to be Max's mother and needs to feed her kids, 'The pack', a bunch of blood lusting ghouls. Charlotte now faces a terrifying reality: these ghouls are already dead... and hungry. Alone and in the middle of nowhere, she quickly realizes... she's next on the menu!

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Benjamin Rocher and Yannic Dahan

People who added this item 197 Average listal rating (123 ratings) 5.8 IMDB Rating 5.9
When detective Mathias Rivoallan is found murdered by the gang led by the Nigerian Markudi, detectives Jimenez, Aurore, Ouessem and Tony decide to revenge the death of his friend. The vigilantes plot bloodshed, executing Markudi, his brother Bola (Doudou Masta) and the other gangsters in the abandoned building where they are gathered. However, things go wrong when the watchman arrives and the violent gang subdues the quartet and tortures them. Meanwhile, the lookouts of the gang hear explosions, sirens and the weird sound of the rabble.

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David Morlet

People who added this item 53 Average listal rating (32 ratings) 5.8 IMDB Rating 5.6
Mutants (2009)
A virus has transformed the vast majority of humanity into bloodthirsty, zombie creatures. Marco and Sonia are young couple fleeing the "mutants" and trying to fight their way to a military base. But when Marco himself becomes infected in an attack, the pregnant Sonia must fight the worst enemy—the man she loves.

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Mathieu Kassovitz

People who added this item 68 Average listal rating (27 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 6.5
Assassin(s) (1997)
For over 40 years, Mr. Wagner has been a successful assassin, but now he is 70; his hands tremble and his eyesight and reflexes are rapidly failing. Mr. Wagner is ready to retire, but first he must find a successor.

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Fabrice Du Welz

People who added this item 216 Average listal rating (121 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.2
A few days before Christmas, a traveling entertainer is stuck at nightfall in a remote forest village after his van breaks down. He finds an inn and gets a room for the night. The next day, he finds himself in a nightmare that may not end.

People who added this item 23 Average listal rating (13 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.2
Michel, a murderous womanizer, meets introverted Gloria online and treats her to a whirlwind one-night-stand. Offering herself as an accomplice in his seductive crimes, the unhinged lovers embark on a deadly odyssey amplified by wild sex, unbridled jealousy, and passionate forays into the dark arts. This smart and gory shocker breathes new life into the lovesick horror genre to serve up a chilling tale of white-hot desperation and terrifying devotion.

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Géla Babluani

People who added this item 190 Average listal rating (104 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.3
A poor Georgian immigrant roofer steals a letter containing instructions for a mysterious job with a purportedly large payday. Blindly following the instructions, the young man unwittingly becomes caught in a dark and dangerous game.

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Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani

People who added this item 122 Average listal rating (68 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.1
Three key moments, all of them sensual, define Ana's life. Her carnal search sways between reality and colored fantasies becoming more and more oppressive. A black laced hand prevents her from screaming. The wind lifts her dress and caresses her thighs. A razor blade brushes her skin, where will this chaotic and carnivorous journey leave her?

New French Extremity (or "New French Extremism") is a term coined by Artforum critic James Quandt for a collection of transgressive films by French directors at the turn of the 21st century. The filmmakers are also discussed by Jonathan Romney of The Independent. Quandt describes the style as follows:

Bava as much as Bataille, Salo no less than Sade seem the determinants of a cinema suddenly determined to break every taboo, to wade in rivers of viscera and spumes of sperm, to fill each frame with flesh, nubile or gnarled, and subject it to all manner of penetration, mutilation, and defilement.
—James Quandt, Artforum

Huge thanks for Wikipedia, IMDb, Artforum, DVDBeaver and Senseofcinema helping me out with this.

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