The 2016 Cannes Film Festival got underway in the middle of May, with an exclusive lineup of the world’s most prestigious film festival. Watch our Top 10 movies selection from the festival and let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
The Neon Demon
Disney might take issue, but the brothers Grimm would surely approve of Nicolas Winding Refn’s twisted fairy tale, a hyper-stylized plunge into Los Angeles’ cult of beauty, wherein a not-entirely-innocent blonde ingénue (Elle Fanning) cracks the city’s ultra-competitive modeling scene. As allegories go, Refn’s cynical take can seem facile at times, but like “Suspiria” or “The Black Swan,” surrealist horror is absolutely the right genre to capture said phenomenon.
In cinema, as in poetry, there are epic tales of conflict and heroism that take hours to relate, and then there are tiny, observational doodles that uncannily manage to cut to the essence of life via a handful of short, repetitive stanzas. In the context of Cannes, Jim Jarmusch's "Paterson" may not seem ambitious enough, but it zeroes in on what is true and relatable in a New Jersey bus driver's weekly routine, so that we might better understand ourselves. — Peter Debruge
Shia LaBeouf has never looked worse or acted better than in Arnold’s scuzzy road movie following a crew of exploited teenagers who get an itinerant job in the Midwest, selling magazine subscriptions door-to-door. The flick is continuously fascinating, expertly showing us youth in revolt and pleasure-seeking as a design for life. LaBeouf, sporting a ratty braided ponytail and covered in tattoos, gives a striking performance. And the film also features what is probably the hippest soundtrack of Cannes.
I, Daniel Blake
Loach‘s new film, that takes an uncompromising look at the UK’s welfare system, reduced critics at Cannes to tears. The brutally moving drama, set in Newcastle (and shown at the event with subtitles in case people couldn’t understand the Geordie accent), tells the fictional story of carpenter Daniel Blake who suffers a heart attack and is told by doctors he can no longer work. Loach commented that “the most vulnerable people are told their poverty is their own fault… It is shocking.”
Hell or high water
Chris Pine and Ben Foster are gripping as West Texas brothers who go on a spree of petty bank robberies — but not because they’re simple crooks. They’re very complicated crooks (well, one of them is), and we survey their actions with a mesmerizing mixture of sympathy and dismay. Jeff Bridges, as the Texas Ranger who wants to hunt them down, does a great piece of character acting. Directed by David Mackenzie, the movie is funny and explosive but surprisingly rich.
Chloë Sevigny has a self-proclaimed disdain for directors now. To counter that, she’s stepping behind the camera and taking matters into her own hands. Her directorial debut at Cannes is based on a Paul Bowles short story about a little girl who dreams of becoming a kitten and finds herself transformed into one. “I wanted to do kind of a throwback to those ‘80s films where they had an element of practical effects and makeup and stuff, and I could incorporate all that,” Sevigny commented.
Almodóvar fit right in at this year’s Cannes, which was full of films that went over the top in dealing with unconventional topics and lots of sex… After all, the Spanish director has been doing that kind of thing for decades. Based on three Alice Munro short stories, his Julieta follows our titular mother who has just lost her husband in Madrid. Her 18-year-old daughter also just ran away without any explanation. As Julieta attempts to find her, she realizes that she knows very little about her own child.
The Nice Guys
Shane Black is an old-school kind of guy – he’s littered movie theaters with sordid tales of L.A. for 30 years now, from 1987’s Lethal Weapon to 2013’s Iron Man 3 and his latest, The Nice Guys, doesn’t mess with that formula. Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling star (and totally nail it!) as a pair of sound-hearted guys off on the trail of a missing porn star in the crime caper. It feels like a movie you should already be referencing as an example of the type of movie that studios don’t make anymore, but you can’t because it’s new.
The last face
It’s been almost 10 years since Penn’s last directorial feature, Into the Wild. Now he’s back with his distinctive Charlize Theron, Javier Bardem and Adèle Exarchopoulos-starring drama. Theron plays the director of an international aid agency in Africa, who meets a relief aid doctor (Bardem) during a political/social revolution. In the situation, they are presented with difficult choices when it comes to humanitarianism amidst civil unrest.
Well into his 80s, the violent cult surrealist Alejandro Jodorowky ("El Topo") has reinvented himself as a maker of shaggy-dog Felliniesque memoir, and this one is far more disciplined and moving than his first, "The Dance of Reality" (2013). It's about how Jodorowsky joined the bohemian demimonde of Santiago as a young poet. In his baroque way, the former midnight sensationalist has become a true storyteller who turns every scene into an adventure.