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Not in Cannes? Stream These 5 Powerful Palme d’Or Winners

Not in Cannes? Stream These 5 Powerful Palme d'Or Winners

Who will win the Palme this year? Todd Haynes’ lesbian romance “Carol”? Yorgos Lanthimos’ macabre future-romance “The Lobster”? Paolo Sorrentino’s paean to life and death “Youth”? No question, a few serious contenders have emerged, but we won’t know until awards unveil May 24. In the meantime, enjoy these five powerful Palme d’Or winners at home.

Winter Sleep(2014)
Watching Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s near-four-hour Turkish drama sounds like a lot of work. And it is. The first time I saw it, it felt like nothing but a series of moving pictures of empty individuals bloviating about life, work, pride, class and intellect. But upon closer inspection, this is a haunting masterpiece of world-building. Ceylan checks us into the Anatolian mountaintop hotel that is a psychological prison for three people — has-been writer/actor Aydin (Haluk Bilginer), his young trophy wife Nihal (Melisa Sozen) and his careworn, trundling sister Necla (Demet Akbag). “Winter Sleep” feels more like a novel or a miniseries in one devastating sitting, with a grand emotional grenade of a finale that hits you like a brick through a windshield. (Stream it on Netflix.)

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010)
It makes sense that a jury headed by Tim Burton would anoint Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s — whose 2015 Un Certain Regard premiere “Cemetery of Splendour” got picked up by Strand — idiosyncratic masterpiece that has no shortage of imagination and whimsy. The Thai art film explores reincarnation through a stream of gently interconnected fantasies of the title character’s many past lives. “Boonmee” is a quiet wonder that, maybe like a dream, asks more for your eyes and ears than your head. Its universe of repeated messages and symbols leaves little space for logic or sense-making, as in a very special scene where a talking catfish pleasures an aging princess. (Stream it on Fandor.)

READ MORE: Strand Buys Weerasethakul’s “Cemetery of Splendour”

“4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days” (2007)
Cristian Mungiu’s working-class drama recreates Communist Romania almost as a post-apocalyptic dystopia, but this is also a nerve-splitting thriller about a young woman who wants an abortion. As the woman in crisis and her close friend and confidante, actresses Anamaria Marinca and Laura Vasiliu make this plight uncomfortably real and sympathetic as they navigate the various bureaucratic entanglements of acquiring such an operation. Mungiu, who would later direct an almost-horror film with “Beyond the Hills,” does not look away from the grim, gory details, and he trusts us enough to root for his powerful female characters. We do. (Stream it on Hulu.)

“The Son’s Room” (2001)
Italian auteur Nanni Moretti has a new film in the Competition this year, “Mia Madre,” but he first won the Palme for this drama of grief and middle-class life that broken-heartedly embraces its sentimentality. It aches us to watch as a psychologist father and his wayward son, just on the verge of reaching some kind of peace treaty after years of resentment, are torn apart by a little accident. Despair and regret pile up as Giovanni (Moretti) ponders The Life Not Lived — with his son, and otherwise. (Stream it on Netflix.)

“The Tin Drum” (1979)
Adapted from Günter Grass’ dark German fairytale, Volker Schlöndorff’s seriocomic film version shocked audiences with its frank underage sexuality and savage depiction of war-torn Eastern Europe. The film concerns the loss of innocence of a boy named Oskar who learns far too early that his parents are just people, and that the world is poisoned. We follow him into adulthood, during World War II, where such lessons get tougher. “The Tin Drum” won the Foreign Oscar at the 1980 Academy Awards. (Stream it on Hulu.)

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