Cannes 2017: Top 15 Films of Interestby keithsim | last updated - 2 months ago
Full disclosure: One of my roles is as the Amazon Studios liaison and they have two films in the following list, Todd Haynes's Wonderstruck and Lynne Ramsay's new film, You Were Never Really Here.
Wind River, the Taylor Sheridan film would have been on this list if I hadn't caught it in Sundance. It's recommended and should be on your list as well.
Other titles missing that I still plan to see: Takashi Miike's Blade of the Immortal, Kiyoshi Kurosawa's Before We Vanish and Loveless by Andrey Zvyaginstev.
1. Wonderstruck (2017)
PG | 117 min | Drama, Family, Mystery
The story of a young boy in the Midwest is told simultaneously with a tale about a young girl in New York from fifty years ago as they both seek the same mysterious connection.
In Competition - Based upon a book by Brian Selznik, who also wrote the mesmerizing "The Invention of Hugo Cabret." I read the latter to my kids but I became as engrossed in the tale and the images as they were. That book also captured the imagination of Martin Scorsese who turned it into, simply, Hugo. Scosese courageously struggled to capture the delicate, mysterious, and quite miraculous nature of Selznick's text and illustrations to the screen. How the very detail-oriented Haynes will approach Selznick's followup to "Hugo" has me very excited and a little bit nervous.
2. Le redoutable (2017)
107 min | Biography, Comedy, Drama
In Competition - I'm jubilant that The Artist's writer/director Michel Hazavanicius has rebounded from the painful experience of The Search and intrigued that he's chosen the still-alive Jean Luc-Godard as the subject of his new film. Doubling the interest level is the period he's chosen, around the 1968 French protests that included the cancelling of Cannes that year (and the creation of Director's Fortnight), which is captured in the preview trailer. Also glad to see that the talented Stacy Martin (Nymphomaniac Vol. 1, Tale of Tales) is getting such a prominent role.
3. The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017)
109 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery
A teenager's attempts to bring a brilliant surgeon into his dysfunctional family take an unexpected turn.
In Competition - Lanthimos's The Lobster made around $9 million in the U.S./Canada and was up for a slew of awards including the Academy's Best Original Screenplay category. He is always a challenging and original artist. He reteams with his Lobster star Farrell (who should never make another studio film again) and with his first magazine cover star, Nicole Kidman. Okay, okay, Colin Farrell has graced a cover or two but he's not on newsstands throughout the calendar like Kidman.
110 min | Comedy, Drama
An estranged family gathers together in New York for an event celebrating the artistic work of their father.
5. Good Time (2017)
R | 100 min | Crime, Drama
A bank robber finds himself unable to evade those who are looking for him.
In Competition - The Safdie brothers made quite a stir with their feature before this, Heaven Knows What, which earned them a John Cassavetes Award nomination at the last Film Independent Spirit Awards and some other noms to boot. Plus it's a fearless cast.
6. You Were Never Really Here (2017)
95 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller
A missing teenage girl. A brutal and tormented enforcer on a rescue mission. Corrupt power and vengeance unleash a storm of violence that may lead to his awakening.
7. Jupiter holdja (2017)
123 min | Drama
Aryan is a Syrian refugee trying to make his way into Hungary from Serbia, along with his father and many other wretched souls. They are all caught, and find themselves in a web of cynicism and corruption.
In Competition - Mundruczo's last film was White God, which won him the Un Certain Regard Director prize and recognition State-side. His reputation internationally, however, has been building for years including winning Un Certain Regard for Johanna and being nominated for the Palme d'Or for 2008's Delta and 2010's Tender Son: The Frankenstein Project.
8. L'amant double (2017)
107 min | Drama, Romance, Thriller
Chloé, a fragile young woman, falls in love with her psychoanalyst, Paul. A few months later she moves in with him, but soon discovers that her lover is concealing a part of his identity.
In Competition - The prolific Ozon returns with Marine Vacht the young star of his shockingly frank (and dead-eyed) 2013 film, Jeune & Jolie. In that film Vacth played a young woman who becomes an escort out of, what? boredom? a result of sex-saturated society? daddy issues? It's probably all of the above. Regardless a new offering from Ozon is a must and even if it misses there's still Vacth to watch for two hours.
9. The Beguiled (2017)
R | 93 min | Drama
The unexpected arrival of a wounded Union soldier at a girls' school in Virginia during the American Civil War leads to jealousy and betrayal.
Votes: 5,862 | Gross: $9.39M
In Competition - Not to be superstitious or anything but I'm not sure that the Croissette is the best place for director Sofia Coppola. True she scored with the out-of-competition The Virgin Suicides in '99 but she also debuted the clunky Marie Antoinette there in '06 (though In Competition for the Palme d'Or) and The Bling Ring ended up in Un Certain Regard in 2013, garnering little regard whatsoever. The original, 1971, Don Siegel-Beguiled, starring Clint Eastwood, still packs a punch today but that's because it was so shocking for the era, including an imagined menage-a-trios and Eastwood's Union soldier planting a kiss on a 12-year-old girl. Watching Coppola go genre though could be a kick.
10. Happy End (2017)
R | 107 min | Drama
A drama about a family set in Calais with the European refugee crisis as the backdrop.
In Competition - The last time Haneke was at Cannes was in 2012 with Amour which was arguably his biggest success and garnered him the Best Foreign Language Oscar. Returning with a refugee drama seems out of sorts for the director, who is not long on sentimentality, so this could prove to be the most harrowing film of the festival.
11. Aus dem Nichts (2017)
106 min | Drama
Katja's life collapses after the death of husband and son in a bomb attack. After the time of mourning and injustice, here comes the time of revenge.
In Competition - - Okay, okay, I've been a bit remiss in keeping up with all of Fatih Akin's films since 2004's Head On. Not only did I respond to that taut film but it launched Sibel Kekilli's legit career and won the Golden Bear in Berlin. So I missed his 2007 Palme d'Or film, The Edge of Heaven and 2009's Soul Kitchen, nominated for Venice's Golden Lion. I actually did see his 2014 Venice entry The Cut, another in a long-line of long and earnest Armenian holocaust films. Akin also had Kruger who has been crafting an excellent filmography for herself the last few years.
12. The Square (2017)
142 min | Comedy, Drama
The Square is a poignant satirical drama reflecting our times - about the sense of community, moral courage and the affluent person's need for egocentricity in an increasingly uncertain world.
In Competition - Ostlund directed 2014's Force Majeure and, if you haven't seen that, then stop reading this and watch it. The Un Certain Regard jury of that year would certainly agree with me as they awarded it a Jury Prize that year. Ostlund had previously been in Un Certain Regard with Involuntary so this certainly isn't his first time at the Cannes rodeo, so to speak. Plus Elisabeth Moss.
13. Okja (2017)
TV-MA | 120 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
Meet Mija, a young girl who risks everything to prevent a powerful, multi-national company from kidnapping her best friend - a fascinating animal named Okja.
In Competition - I realize that I'm one of the few people on the planet who was not bowled over by Snowpiercer, which delivered its political and societal methaphors by way of plunger, but there, I said it. I was a much bigger fan of The Host and remain creeped out by Mother. Though the setup for Okja seems precious the director is anything but.
14. D'après une histoire vraie (I) (2017)
110 min | Comedy, Drama, Mystery
A writer goes through a tough period after the release of her latest book, as she gets involved with an obsessive admirer.
Out of Competition - Sony Pictures Classics has already picked up this Polanski team-up with Olivier Assayas so there's a good chance you'll get to see it outside of France. Here Polanski again directs his real-life wife of some 28 years, Seigner. Let's hope it's better than Bitter Moon and Venus in Fur and more like The Ninth Gate (which I love most of).
15. How to Talk to Girls at Parties (2017)
R | 102 min | Comedy, Music, Romance
An alien touring the galaxy breaks away from her group and meets two young inhabitants of the most dangerous place in the universe: the London suburb of Croydon.