After having watched The Dreamers this past weekend, I have an observation to make about French movies. It may just be the ones that make it to American DVD distributors, but they sure do follow a formula.
They're bloody miserable, involve naked people, and the dialogue is like no other kind of movie.
People either say incredibly dramatic stuff (eg. "He burned me with cigarettes, raped me, and then murdered my mother with my own paintbrush I loved so much") while adopting a very carefree physical attitude. Or else, they say something completely trivial (eg. "The shops were closed today. I really wanted to get a baguette") while screaming dramatically in the rain then collapsing in a fit of demented giggles before committing suicide. The sentiment behind the words never match the actions of the actors.
As for the nudity, I have no complaints to make there. If I had a body like Eva Green's, I would have it written into my contract that I'd have to have at least two fully nude scenes in each film.
As for the misery, blame it on Victor Hugo, but all their movies I've seen recently are so despairing and hopeless. I've seen Caché (depressing) and À ma soeur! (even more depressing).
However, the French director Paul Grimault made a fantastic cartoon in 1980 called Le Roi et L'Oiseau that blew me away. I hope it'll be available in the States someday, with English subtitles, because it is so sadly overlooked. If you do a search for it on YouTube, you can see a sample of it (as long as that user still has the clips). Nothing can compare to good old fashioned animation with nary a CGI shot in sight. (*Still twitches at the thought of the CGI Yoda and Jabba*)