Tale of Tales – Inside Out – The Assassin – The Lobster – Arabian Nights – Amy – Mad Max: Fury Road

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Jurors: Joel and Ethan Coen (presidents), Rossy de Palma, Guillermo del Toro, Xavier Dolan, Jake Gyllenhaal, Sophie Marceau, Sienna Miller, Rokia Traoré
 

 
Palme d'Or:Dheepan, France, dir. Jacques Audiard
Grand Jury Prize:Son of Saul, Hungary, dir. László Nemes
Jury Prize: The Lobster, USA/Greece, dir. Yorgos Lanthimos
Best Director:The Assassin, Hou Hsaio-hsien
Best Actress:Carol, Rooney Mara
Mon roi, Emmanuelle Bercot
Best Actor:The Measure of a Man, Vincent Lindon
Best Screenplay:Chronic, Michel Franco
FIPRESCI/International
    Critics Prize:
Son of Saul, Hungary, dir. László Nemes
Prize of the Ecumenical Jury:Mia Madre, Italy, dir. Nanni Moretti
Caméra d'Or (first feature):Land and Shade, Colombia, César Augusto Acevedo



Competition Films I Have Seen:
Ranked in order of preference
 
My Palme d'Or
Carol (USA, dir. Todd Haynes) - An icepick. An atomizer. A rose. I've never seen 1950s queer desire depicted as such a braid of frankness and circumspection.

Son of Saul (Hungary, dir. László Nemes) - So formally brilliant you can't help noticing, even as you expend all emotional and moral energy. The sound! The story.

The Lobster (UK/Greece, dir. Yorgos Lanthimos) - Riotous sendup of bureaucratized intimacy molts into skeptical view of rebel order, then a test of personal principle.

Dheepan (France, dir. Jacques Audiard) - Sleek, observant, steadily winching synthesis of prior Audiard themes. Psychology deftly externalized. Actors keep it hot.

Sicario (USA/Canada, dir. Denis Villeneuve) - Drug war as oil fire: the film is thick black smoke in stately, terrifying plumes. Every throat is tight. Blunt excels.

The Assassin (Taiwan, dir. Hou Hsiao-hsien) - A royal marriage of many lines, sumptuous, as much Unforgiven as Scarlet Empress. Hou's hand still unsteady on story.

Macbeth (UK/France, dir. Justin Kurzel) - Maybe not the rangiest vision of the play but a stark, grotty, and potent one. Fassbender's a lava pit, Cotillard a cobra.

The Measure of a Man (France, dir. Stéphane Brizé) - Lindon's Cannes-winning performance is indeed flawless. Film risks few innovations but is rich in observation.

Mountains May Depart (China, dir. Jia Zhangke) - Hi, I'd like a Hong Sang-soo, a Stella Dallas, a Notes on a Scandal (iced), and a small side of Drrrainage?!

Tale of Tales (Italy, dir. Matteo Garrone) - Arabian Nights, Vol 3½: The Ersatz One. Stilted international coproduction, emptily opulent. Some insouciant moments.

Youth (Italy/Switzerland, dir. Paolo Sorrentino) - Frequently risible, occasionally tasteless, but across the whole, the blend of the epicurean and inchoate can be compelling.

Mia Madre (Italy, dir. Nanni Moretti) - An interesting, quiet mother-daughter dynamic slowly emerges, but hampered by listless storytelling and broad pandering.



Sidebar Selections I Have Seen:
Ranked in order of preference
 
Arabian Nights, Vol. 1: The Restless One (Directors' Fortnight; Portugal, dir. Miguel Gomes) - A+? So many good films here but this inhabits a whole other level as piebald art and political intervention.

Arabian Nights, Vol. 3: The Enchanted One (Directors' Fortnight; Portugal, dir. Miguel Gomes) - What Obama said about guns and religion, but about chaffinches. Heavy histories shrink to bearable fetishes.

Arabian Nights, Vol. 2: The Desolate One (Directors' Fortnight; Portugal, dir. Miguel Gomes) - Less obviously intricate than Vol 1, and more frontal in stating themes—I thought. Then I grew less sure.

Much Loved (Directors' Fortnight; Morocco, dir. Nabil Ayouch) - Bracing, gutsy, humane drama of Moroccan prostitutes. Moving and nuanced images, sounds, and characters. Pass it on!

The Treasure (Un Certain Regard; Romania, dir. Corneliu Porumboiu) - Comic gold, with an impressively ferrous structure of ironies and nuances that hold it together and expand its scope.

Mad Max: Fury Road (Out of Competition: Australia/USA, dir. George Miller) - Voluptuously expressive. Its own China syndrome of crazy conviction, engineered to pestle and pulp its audience.

The Other Side (Un Certain Regard; France/Italy, dir. Roberto Minervini) - Beasts of one nation, arguably under God, arguably indivisible. An upsetting revelation no matter how "true" it is.

In the Shadow of Women (Directors' Fortnight; France, dir. Philippe Garrel) - Tiny ficelle of a film takes witty stock of knotted infidelities. Neither one-sided nor free of judgment.

Inside Out (Out of Competition: USA, dir. Pete Docter) - Snappy, thoughtful, full of empathy, yet core feels schematic, even a bit cold. Literalizes some of Toy Story's lessons.

Cemetery of Splendor (Un Certain Regard; Thailand, dir. Apichatpong Weerasethakul) - Reader, I must confess I'm starting to find Weerasethakul tedious, as much as I admire his directorial craft.

My Golden Days (Directors' Fortnight; France, dir. Arnaud Desplechin) - I'm where I always am with Desplechin: I admire all his empathy and craft but just don't feel swept up. Cold awe.

Dégradé (Critics' Week; Palestine, dirs. Arab Nasser and Tarzan Nasser) - Entrapment, suffocation are topics, occasionally effects of one-set suspenser in Gaza salon. Bold vision. Hang in there.

Amy (Out of Competition: UK, dir. Asif Kapadia) - Potent, fond, but opaque; nothing it does can rival or unpack sheer power of the voice. Dicey slo-mo. Not yet sold on Kapadia.

Dope (Directors' Fortnight: USA, dir. Rick Famuyiwa) - Isn't. Bizarrely structured: an hour to set up premise! Appreciate eclectic tones in theory, but poorly balanced. Dire women.

Love (Out of Competition: France, dir. Gaspar Noé) - Passably compelling on intimacies and banalities of sex; at times confuses them. Uneven visuals. Too long. Big Viagra budget.

Irrational Man (Out of Competition: USA, dir. Woody Allen) - Stone, Phoenix are assets. Her arc richer than his. Still, clunky script, no feel for milieu, icky self-portrait.

Green Room (Directors' Fortnight; USA, dir. Jeremy Saulnier) - Blue Ruin had assets in all areas; this has zero in any. What happened? Quoth its own eviduh, "This is taking too long."



Films in the Main Competition:
Ranked in order of interest; more on this year's lineup here (opens in a new window)
 
Chronic, USA, dir. Michel Franco
Mon roi, France, dir. Maïwenn
Valley of Love, France, dir. Guillaume Nicloux
Louder Than Bombs, Norway, dir. Joachim Trier
Our Little Sister, Japan, dir. Hirokazu Kore-eda
Marguerite and Julien, France, dir. Valérie Donzelli
The Sea of Trees, USA, dir. Gus Van Sant



Sidebar Films I'm Curious to See:
Listed alphabetically; click names of sidebars for more titles (in a new window)
Stay tuned, as some films have yet to add IMDb pages
 
Un Certain Regard: Alias María, Colombia/Argentina, dir. José Luis Rugeles Gracia
Lamb, Ethiopia, dir. Yared Zeleke
Maryland, Maryland, dir. Alice Winocour
Nahid, Iran, dir. Ida Panahandeh
One Floor Below, Romania, dir. Radu Muntean
Sweet Bean , Japan, dir. Naomi Kawase
Trap (aka Taklub), The Philippines, dir. Brillante Mendoza
Directors' Fortnight: Beyond My Grandfather Allende, Chile, dir. Marcia Tambutti
The Brand New Testament, Belgium, dir. Jaco van Dormael
Peace to Us in Our Dreams, Lithuania, dir. Sharunas Bartas
Yakuza Apocalypse: The Great War of the Underworld, , dir. Takashi Miike
Critics' Week: Les Anarchistes, France, dir. Elie Wajeman
Les Deux Amis, France, dir. Louis Garrel
Land and Shade, Colombia, dir. Cesar Augusto Acevedo
Learn by Heart, France, dir. Mathieu Vadepied
Paulina, Argentina/Brazil/France, dir. Santiago Mitre
Sleeping Giant, Canada, dir. Andrew Cividino
Out of Competition: Amnesia, Switzerland/France, dir. Barbet Schroeder
The Little Prince, USA/France, dir. Mark Osborne
Oka, Mali, dir. Souleymane Cissé
Standing Tall, France, dir. Emmanuelle Bercot
A Tale of Love and Darkness, Israel/USA, dir. Natalie Portman
Une histoire de fou, France, dir. Robert Guédigian

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