Cannes Highlights

By Arjan Bharadwaj

Each May, the biggest names from the world of cinema congregate at the French coastal town of Cannes to attend the Cannes Film Festival. This year, which marked the 70th edition of the premiere film festival, was no different.

Only a few films can bag the limited trophies or the crowning glory of the Palm d’Or, the most coveted prize at Cannes.

A look at the list of winners every year is a recommended starting point for making a note of the most talked about films of the year; ones that should not be missed. Of course, it’s not easy to access many of these films but that has changed greatly thanks to streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon.

This year Swedish satirical drama ‘The Square’, by director Ruben Östlund, bagged the Palm d’Or while the best director award when to Sophia Coppola for her film ‘The Beguiled’ (starring Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning and Colin Farrell).

Diane Kruger bagged the best actress award for ‘In the Fade’ (by director Fatih Akin) while the best actor trophy was handed over to Joaquin Phoenix for ‘You Were Never Really Here’. Directed by Lynne Ramsay, ‘You Were Never Really Here’ also shared the best screenplay award with ‘The Killing of A Sacred Deer’, by director Yorgos Lanthimos starring Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman.

Every year the Caméra d’Or is given to the best first feature and this year the winner in that category was ‘Jeune Femme (Montparnasse-Bienvenüe)’ by director Léonor Serraille.

Other titles to keep an eye out for include director Andrei Zvyagintsev’s ‘Loveless’ (jury prize winner) which Time magazine described as ‘an allegory about modern Russia and the heartlessness of its government; ‘120 Beats per Minute’ by Robin Campillo, ‘The Florida Project which is Sean Baker’s follow up after iPhone drama ‘Tangerine’, and ‘Happy End’, a grim satire directed by Cannes favourite Michael Haneke starring stalwarts Isabelle Huppert and Jean-Louis Trintignant.

Available on Netflix, Bong Joon-ho’s animal rights drama ‘Okja’ was quite the talk of the festival this year as was documentary film ‘Promised Land’ by Eugene Jareck, which is part tribute to Elvis Presley and part commentary on “America in decline”. If you want to have a little more fun, then Francois Ozon’s ‘Amant Double’ is said to be a twisted ride. Brothers Josh and Ben Safdie’s ‘Good Time’ is a fast-paced thriller starring Robert Pattison which Time Out described as “brutal at times, but it’s also wildly exciting”.

Like all art, preferences are subjective. This curated pick simply includes a few titles to get you started and help you navigate through films that premiered at Cannes this year. Next up though are the Toronto and Venice film festivals which will also present a new selection of must-watch films.

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