5 Films That Took Over Cannes, Including A Korean Lesbian Revenge Thriller
It’s been a week since the Cannes Film Festival took over the South of France. Now, it’s time to look into the crystal ball of internet gossip to find out what films rose above the pack as the festival drew to a close, awards were handed out, and directors and stars left in a wave of praise or condemnation–or both. From interracial marriage and Korean gothic lesbian revenge thrillers to a female-directed film that won the festival’s biggest award more, these are the five flicks that captured our hearts at Cannes.
Oldboy director Park Chan-Wook’s delivered a gothic lesbian revenge thriller that sliced through the doldrums of disappointment critics had been facing at this year’s festival. It’s an adaptation of a kinky historical crime novel appropriately titled The Fingersmith (ew?). Chan-Wook moved the story from England to 1930s Korea under Japanese colonialism, threw in some lesbianism, and let it hit Cannes like a wrecking ball. By the end of the festival, it was bought up and set for release in a historic 176 countries. While we wait for it to hit America in September or October, we’ll be daydreaming about what kind of cinematic gold we’ll see at the premiere.
You can always count on Kristen Stewart to court controversy, and this year has been no different. Besides appearing in Woody Allen’s Café Society, which was controversy-by-association, she also starred in this film, a ghost story set in Paris. She plays an American in the world’s most romantic city, working as a personal shopper by day and a spiritual medium by night–she also thinks she’s in touch with her dead brother. As the credits rolled, the film received loud boos and a four-minute standing ovation. By the end of the festival, director Olivier Assayas had been named co-winner for Best Director while riding simultaneous waves of divisive critical praise and condemnation, adding up to a movie that’ll keep film buffs arguing for months after it hits theaters.
The film that seems to have little Oscar trophies buzzing around it goes back in time as well, exploring American bigotry in the 1960s. Half a century ago, interracial marriage was illegal in 28 states, and couples like white working-class Virginia man Richard Loving and his biracial wife Mildred were shunned. Their story is one of the most infamous love stories in history and now, it’s getting the silver screen treatment. Although they left Cannes empty handed, Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga gave breakout performances that could make them easy contenders for the Best Actor and Best Actress nominations come awards season.
One of our fav female directors, Maren Ade, made waves with her third feature, and was heavily rumored to in the running for the festival’s highest honor, the Palme d’Or. It didn’t win, but we’d like to think that the historically long deliberation process the jury went through this year had something to do with this stunning film, which topped The Guardian’s alternative winner list. The story followed a father visiting his daughter in Romania. He goes full Punk’d and Jackass to warm her soul and bring a sense of humor back that she lost to capitalism. Toni Erdmann was already purchased by Sony Pictures Classics, so keep your eyes open for when this gem hits theaters.
I, Daniel Blake
This film made a room full of movie critics cry. I, Daniel Blake brought heart to the festival, winning the ultimate prize: the Palme d’Or (director Ken Loach is now a two-time winner, aka the happiest man in Cannes). Loach’s takedown of how the British government handles poverty followed one Daniel Blake and his family’s financial struggle; Blake suffers a heart attack, and is told he can no longer work. Loach’s dose of reality shines a light on a deeply flawed welfare system, but the film also shines and brings humanity to a struggle that transcends the boundaries of countries for a story anyone can appreciate–and cry over.
Original imagery via Kathryn Chadason. Addition imagery via IFC Films and Cannes.
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