Actress Kristin Scott Thomas stars in the drama Sarah's Key, about the French roundup of Jews during the Nazi occupation. "It's something the French have been extremely wary of talking about," she says. "It's been hidden away for a very, very long time."
The French outlaw Jacques Mesrine, who terrorized France and killed 39 people, is the subject of the thrilling Mesrine: Killer Instinct, which stars Vincent Cassell as Mesrine and Gerard Depardieu as a Parisian crime boss. Critic John Powers applauds Cassell's acting, saying it "ranks with the best of DeNiro or Pacino or, more recently, Daniel Day-Lewis."
When it came out in 1961, Alain Resnais' Last Year at Marienbad perplexed and excited audiences with its surrealistic storytelling. John Powers has a review of the film's Criterion Collection re-release.
In summer, lots of readers like to tackle complex works of non-fiction. Our book critic tells us why this summer, she turned to two ambitious works of historical fiction: Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky and Triangle by Katharine Weber.
Director Jean Pierre Jeunet's new film A Very Long Engagement is set during the end of World War I and is based on the novel by Sebastien Japrisot. It stars Audrey Tautou, who also played the title role in Jeunet's previous film, Amelie.
Australian actress Cate Blanchett. In her latest film Charlotte Gray she plays a courier behind enemy lines during World War II, directed by Australian director Gillian Armstrong. She also in three films out now: The Shipping News, Bandits and The Lord of the Rings. Blanchett was nominated for an Academy Award for her starring role in Elizabeth. Her other films include Pushing Tin, Oscar and Lucinda, The Talented Mr Ripley, and The Gift.
Deneuve talks about her new movie "Les Voleures" (Thieves). Some of her best known films include "Belle De Jour," "Repulsion," "Indochine," and "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg." She was born in Paris in 1943.
Language Commentator Geoffrey Nunberg on how the word "French" has been associated with sexual activities and references... such as "French kiss", "pardon my French" and an 18th Century term for condoms: "French Letters.
Dibango is considered one of the founders of world music. His first album, "Soul Makossa," was a big hit in 1973. His latest album is called "Wakafrika" and blends traditionally African music with European pop. This album features such artists as Youssou N'Dour, Peter Gabriel and Sinead O'Connor. His new autobiography is "Three Kilos of Coffee."
John Leonard reviews "The Emperor's Last Island," by Julia Blackburn, a history of Napoleon with frequent digressions about why that narrative is relevant to the author's life. Leonard says it's a compelling read because Blackburn herself is compelling.
Author Allen Kurzweil. Kurzweil's new book, "A Case of Curiosities," is a comic novel about the life of a 18th Century watchmaker living in France in the days before the Revolution. (It's published by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich). (Interview by Marty Moss-Coane)