Blue is the Warmest Color: When Movie-Lovers and French Comic Book Nerds Unite

Loosely based on Julie Maroh’s graphic novel Bleu est une couleur chaude, Blue is the Warmest Color (La vie d’Adèle – Chapitres 1&2) by Adbellatif Kechiche made movie history when it became the first comic book-inspired film to win the Palme d’Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival thanks to its outstanding lead performances and profoundly moving love story. Despite a three-hour runtime, the NC-17 film saw a solid US debut last week earning $100,316 in just four locations and currently holds an impressive 91% on RottenTomatoes. Ahead of the movie’s post-Halloween wide release, here’s our list of equally entertaining films adapted from French-language comics.  

  • Persepolis (rent on Netflix) – With the help of director Vincent Paronnaud, Marjane Satrapi turned her autobiographical illustrated coming-of-age story into an Oscar-nominated animated film. Based on her own experiences as a young Iranian girl growing up during an oppressive Islamic regime, Persepolis plays with whimsical animation and inventive writing to poetically portray such a serious and heart-wrenching political situation.
  • Astérix & Obélix: Mission Cléopâtre – Of the four films in the live-action series based on the beloved Astérix comics by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo, Alain Chabat’s Mission Cléopâtre is by far the most enjoyable. With quips and puns a’ plenty, the Ancient Egyptian adventure sees Gérard Depardieu and Christian Clavier team up as the two titular Vikings to construct an impressive palace for the legendary Queen of the Nile. Be sure to stick around until the closing credits for a rap performance by Snoop Dogg and Jamel Debbouze.
  • Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life (watch instantly on Netflix) – Using a mix of live-action and animated sequences along with the appearance of surrealistic Muppet-like characters, Joann Sfar is able to maintain the cartoonish quality of his graphic novel, a biopic of the life of famed seductive singer and pianist Serge Gainsbourg. 
  • Largo Winch (watch instantly on Netflix) – In Jérôme Salle’s exhilarating thriller, a young and handsome unfettered globe-trotter suddenly finds himself in charge of a powerful business empire following the mysterious death of his billionaire adoptive father. With the plot already set by Belgian comic book artists Philippe Francq & Jean Van Hamme, Salle adds visually stunning backdrops and heart-pounding action sequences to bring the whole adventure to life.
  • Titeuf – In honor of the 20th anniversary of his blond-haired comic book hero, Swiss cartoonist Philippe Chappuis aka Zep brought Titeuf to the big screen in the form of a 3D animated film. In this schoolyard saga, the unfortunate Titeuf gets hit with two heart-breaking pieces of news: first, that he didn’t get an invite to his crush’s birthday party and second, that his mom has decided to take a break from his dad to “think things over.” Both silly and touching, this little gem is great for kids and kids-at-heart.

Sophie Weiner

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