Salut à tous! I haven’t been able to sit down and write as I used to since I moved to Paris, but if there’s one thing that I kept doing, even though it isn’t as frequent as before, is watching movies. And one of the greatest things about living in the french capital and one of the reasons I wanted to move here is the fact that I could watch several new movies faster than in Brazil. With that said, I’ve decided to talk about some Cannes Film Festival movies that I had the opportunity to watch. So here they are, in order of preference.
“Triangle of Sadness” by Ruben Ostlund
Without a doubt the best movie of the year for me so far, Triangle of Sadness is an extremely funny and chaotic film about our modern times, while also being a critique of the bourgeoisie, influencers, capitalism, sexism, patriarchy, and much more. Winner of the Palm d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Ruben Ostlund’s film is mainly formed by several vignettes that explore such themes through a unique and hilarious screenplay that is backed by excellent performances by Harris Dickinson, Woody Harrelson, and Dolly De Leon.
“Close” by Lukas Dhont
My latest watch from the festival and without a doubt one of the most beautiful and heartbreaking movies of the year, Close is Lukas Dhont’s second feature that explores the relationship between two very close friends that starts to change after people from their school start bullying them for looking gay. With that, Dhont creates an extremely simple and subtle film about friendship and the horrible things we do to try to fit in. There’s a major plot twist by the middle of the movie that can be seen as an allegory to the many things we do to push our feeling away, especially when it comes to exploring the theme of men dealing with their feminine side. The result is an unforgettable coming of age that will break your heart into two.
“Crimes of the Future” by David Cronenberg
Probably the movie that most people have seen on this list since it came out online, Crimes of the Future is David Cronenberg’s latest insane film which even though it has some problems, it’s still so unique, weird, and interesting, that we can’t deny is a hypnotic piece from beginning to end. A lot of people have said the plot leaves a lot of things unanswered but Crimes of the Future is so sunk into its own anarchy and craziness that it kind of becomes a creature of its own, just like the human-like machines from the script. The original screenplay, the unique concept, the weird and neo-noir-like production design, and the outstanding soundtrack, make this one of the most badass films of the year.
“Peter Von Kant” by François Ozon
Loosely inspired by Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s life and work – more specifically The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, – the latest film by François Ozon is an outstanding gay melodrama about a film director, his slave assistant, and a young boy that he falls in love with. Shot mainly inside of an apartment, Ozon delivers a beautiful mise en scene full of colors and contrasts through costumes and production design that feels like it came out of an Almodovar film, alongside the remarkable performances of Denis Menochet, Stefan Crepon, and Isabelle Adjani. Even though it’s a story that has been told a thousand times, Peter Von Kant is able to enchant you through every single scene, especially if you are familiar with Fassbinder’s work, making this another great film from Ozon’s interesting filmography.
“The Beasts” by Rodrigo Sorogoyen
A film that I was somewhat surprised by how good it was, The Beasts feels as if Robert Eggers had directed a movie by Andrey Zvyagintsev. Also starting Denis Menochet in the main role, the movie follows the story of a French couple who is building a farm in Spain, but are rejected by the local community. While the story begins with subtle threats from the local farmers, The Beasts unfolds itself in such unexpected ways that you’ll end up questioning yourself how the story went to that place and how it will end. With great performances and an elegant mise en scene, The Beasts is definitely a dark western sank into neo-noir influences that will make you ask yourself: did that really happen?
“EO” by Jerzy Skolimowski
From Robert Bresson’s Au Hasard Bathasar to Steven Spielberg’s War Horse, the idea of making a movie from an animal perspective has been done several times throughout cinema’s history. However, I’m pretty sure Jerzy Skolimowski had a different idea in mind when he made EO, a movie that despite having the same concept, it’s so different and experimental that it feels more like an arthouse and sensorial piece. While we follow the donkey EO going through several different moments in Skolimowski’s film, the director also creates an interesting take on nature, the violence of men, technology, life, and death. Not to mention the scene with Isabelle Huppert and Lorenzo Zurlolo could be a film of its own. Beautiful cinematography and an outstanding original score.
“Godland” by Hlynur Pálmason
I’ve first known Hlynur Pálmason through his debut feature Winter Brothers, a movie that I was so in love with that I couldn’t stop myself from checking every movie he released after. Even though I didn’t love his second film, A White White Day, Godland is an interesting improvement by telling the story of a Danish priest who travels to Iceland to build a church and photograph people. Despite following this storyline, Pálmason is more interested in creating a movie about self-discovery through nature, the nihilism of faith, and the ignorance of men. The result might not be the most precise and coherent movie you will see this year, but Godland is so beautiful, hypnotic, and different, that it’s impossible to leave the theater in a state of awe.
“Decision to Leave” by Park Chan-wook
As people who read my articles know, I’m not a big fan of Asian cinema, so it comes as no surprise that Decision to Leave didn’t feel like a masterpiece to me. By telling the story of a detective who starts involving himself with the wife of a man who was murdered, Park Chan-wook’s film is built in such a strange and odd way that it made me more annoyed than actually interested in it, and the fact that the story doesn’t quite make much sense in many ways, made me feel like this was more a beautiful film to look at than actually caring about what happens in it. It’s not a bad film whatsoever, just one that wasn’t made for me.
“Broker” by Hirokazu Koreeda
And last, Broker is Hirokazu Koreeda’s latest film, a director that I was never really a fan of and this movie couldn’t be any different. Telling the story of two guys who steal babies to sell on the black market, Koreeda’s realistic drama never really piqued my interest, and its overly long runtime just seems to drag the film down every minute that it passes. Its many characters are uninteresting, the story is simple and Koreeda’s direction is so bland and without personality that I couldn’t wait for it to finish it. Not necessarily a bad movie, but one that looks more like a long episode of a Korean soap opera than an actual Cannes Film Festival’s official selection piece.
Other movies that I was able to watch in Paris that weren’t at Cannes that I absolutely loved: “The Northman” by Robert Eggers, “Vortex” by Gaspar Noé, “The Black Phone” by Scott Derrickson, and “Ressurection” by Andrew Semans.