My personal and non-transferable Cannes Top 10. Not listed in order of preference, but instead chronological, because they’re all excellent.
Pain & Glory by Pedro Almodóvar. The ideal candidate for the Palme d’Or, not just because it’s one of his best movies thus far, but also because it works as a magnificent compendium of his career. In the end, it wasn’t to be, but the award for Antonio Banderas as his alter-ego is almost as good.
Zombie Child, by Bertrand Bonello. The director of House of Tolerance drew his inspiration from I Walked with a Zombie (J. Tourneur, 1943), to narrate this tale of an elite boarding-school student’s obsession with Haitian Vodou culture. Fascinating.
The Lighthouse, by Robert Eggers. The Witch was one of the most justified hypes of recent horror cinema. But Eggers has outdone himself with this crazed and fun two-hander between Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe, novice and maestro in the lighthouse at world’s end.
Jeanne, from Bruno Dumont. After Jeannette –a minimalist musical, anachronic and with amateur actors, about a young Joan of Arc –, this sequel takes the same route although more than a few novelties, including some long close-up shots of Jeanne, watching us with her piercing gaze.
Portrait of a Lady on Fire, by Céline Sciamma. The French director tackles the masterpiece with this movie and, although it’s set in the 18th century, is almost biographical, given that it’s the story of a portrait of Adèle Haenel, who starred in her first movie (Water Lilies, 2007), and who is also the love of her life.
Liberté, by Albert Serra. As if it were a spin-off of the magnificent Story of My Death (2013), the Banyoles-born director proposes a all-night-long libertine orgy in the midst of an 18th century forest. A veritable catalogue of perversion inspired by the divine marquis. Hypnotic.
Once Upon A time…in Hollywood, by Quentin Tarantino. Up there withInglorious Bastards, and a notch above his other two westerns, a new dialogue between History (Sharon Tate, played by Margot Robbie) and fiction starring A TV actor (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double (Brad Pitt). A grand homage to Hollywood of the 60’s.
Parasite, by Bong Joon-ho. On the heels of his two super productions Snowpiercer and Okja, the south-Korean director is back in his comfort zone with his fetish actor (Song Kang-ho), to offers us a darkly comical parody of society that earned him the Palme d’Or, planet cinema’s most prized trophy.
Oh Mercy! by Arnaud Desplechin. A French polar police thriller with intimate and humanistic overtones featuring Zen commissioner (a majestic Roschdy Zem), who sets out to solve an absurd crime committed in a dark backstreet where the amazing Léa Seydoux and Sara Forestier reside.
The traitor, by Marco Bellocchio. The last living great Italian dictator has spent decades adeptly portraying his country’s history. This time, it’s the turn of snitch Tommaso Buscetta, whose information led to the arrest and imprisonment of over 300 members of the mafia. A grandiose movie that takes all the glamour from the violence of the Cosa Nostra.
Destiny, My Love: Second Song, by Abdellatif Kechiche. This year’s movie scandal was by far the very best way to wrap up the festival. The famous 12-minuecunnilingus stands out but the most important of all is that it features the longest-ever, most immersive disco scene ever filmed. Almost three hours of strobe lights and twerking. An experience onto itself.
Cannes, it’s not so much about the movies you get to see as it is about the ones you don’t. These include Oliver Laxe’s award-winning movie, Fire Will Come, which I hope to recoup shortly.