France is the birthplace of cinema – so it makes sense that it has one of the most distinctive cinematic styles of any country on Earth. Olivier Assayas’ Clouds of Sils Maria is definitively in this tradition, as is the great Michael Haneke’s Code: Unknown, which marks the start of his “French period”.
Germany has undoubtedly produced some of the greatest filmmakers the world has ever known. From the expressionists like Fritz Lang to more modern directors like Werner Herzog & Wim Wenders, whose Cathedrals of Culture is included here. Also look out for 2016’s Toni Erdmann – a surprising hit which won Best Film at the German Film Awards.
Russia is not always considered part of Europe, but it gets included here because its filmmaking tradition is second to none. Soviet film experiments expanded what was possible in cinema, and Alexander Sokurov’s Faust is a good example of the cultural crossover between Europe & Russia.