Poulad and Masoud kimiayi in France

Sometimes you can best appreciate the Frenchness of a film when it doesn’t appear to be all that French. Take the 2011 global success The Artist, directed by Michel Hazanavicius, which was a black-and-white silent comedy set in 20s and 30s Hollywood. Yet it’s hard to imagine The Artist as anything other than Gallic. Who but a French director would have gone about pastiching vintage cinema with such a balance of scholarship, affection and mischief? When we fall in love with the cinema of France, it’s not just the films that win us over, but an attitude to cinema. A famous French ad campaign proclaimed: “When you love life, you’ve been to the cinema.”