More than any year than I can remember, I was excited about this year’s Cannes lineup. More than any year that I can remember, the festival was also back-loaded in such a way that some of the festival’s most anticipated films screened after I left. I missed Soderbergh’s “Che,” Charlie Kaufman’s “Synecdoche, New York,” Atom Egoyan’s “Adoration,” and this year’s Palm d’Or winner “The Class,” by Laurent Cantet, whose film “Time Out” remains one of my all time favorites.
Because I also arrived late, I also missed “Hunger,” this year’s Camera d’Or winner and a favorite among discerning critcs. All this is preface to say that I can’t say definitely anything about the quality, overall, of this year’s festival. While I’ll never be one of those journalists and critics who do the festival for two straight weeks, as my stamina and family are more important to me, I now have a new found understanding of what I’m missing. Regardless, here is a rundown of my Cannes favorites:
Overall, it’s hard to pick a favorite film, but Lucrecia Martel’s masterfully concise “The Headless Woman” may be the one. In this indieWIRE Critic’s Notebook, I called it “moody, mysterious and suffused with ominous portents and subtle critiques of the bourgeoisie.” The film’s images continue to haunt me. On first viewing, I thought it inferior to Martel’s previous movies “La Cienaga” and “The Holy Girl,” but now I’m not so sure. They’re all of a piece, and confirm Martel’s visual talents and unnerving worldview.
And ten other faves — all worth seeing — in order of preference:
“A Christmas Tale” (Arnaud Desplechin)
“Shaking Tokyo” (Bong Joon-Ho, as part of omninus “Tokyo!”)
“Gomorra” (Matteo Garrone)
“24 City” (Jia Zhang-ke)
“Afterschool” (Antonio Campos)
“Lorna’s Silence” (Dardenne brothers)
“Three Monkeys” (Nuri Bilge Ceylan)
“Tokyo Sonata” (Kiyoshi Kurosawa)
“Tyson” (James Toback)
“Linha de Passe” (Walter Salles, Daniela Thomas)