★★★★☆ French-born director Elie Grappe’s film about an exiled Ukrainian gymnast, set largely in 2013-14 during the Ukrainian Maidan protests and subsequent revolution, was delayed in 2020 by the Covid-19 pandemic, premiering last year. It’s a deeply bitter irony, then, that the very catastrophe that Olga warns against should only find notice now.
Cannes’ 75th edition came to a close with a Palme d’Or for Ruben Östlund’s Triangle of Sadness. It was a fittingly ironic moment for the wealthy, star-studded audience to applaud a satire that eviscerates the wealthy and celebrity-obsessed upper-classes. It was Östlund’s second Palme d’Or and, although well-deserved, felt symptomatic of a festival which was fine at best.
★★★★★ Léo (Eden Dambrine) and Remi (Gustav De Waele) are best friends. At 13, they are intelligent and autonomous enough to be allowed a certain freedom, but still full of the childish and spontaneous joy of being and imagining. They pretend villains are attacking the castle, run through the flower fields, and have so many sleepovers together that Leo’s mum wonders aloud if he’ll ever come home.
★★★☆☆ “Family isn’t a word…it’s a sentence”. So ran the tagline to The Royal Tenenbaums. For Hirokazu Kore-eda it could be argued that it’s a whole career. From Still Walking to the Palme d’Or-winning Shoplifters, the Japanese auteur has spent the greater part of his career delineating the lines of attraction and repulsion, the dynamics of duty and care that make up families – both real and alternative.
★★★★☆ If there has been a characteristic that sums up this 75th edition of Cannes, it has been that the festival has been small. Partly because of Covid still affecting the way films are produced – yachts seem to be half-staffed and worlds depopulated: cinema downsized. So it is fitting that one of the last films to screen in the competition is Kelly Reichardt’s determinedly minimalistic Showing Up.
★★★★☆ The better part of three decades since he conquered his intense feelings with rival pilot Iceman (Val Kilmer) and saved the day, hotshot ace Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) is called back into action for his most dangerous mission yet. Heading a hothead crew of recent Top Gun graduates, it’s time to fly into the danger zone once again.
★★★★☆ Co-directors Emil Benjamin and Brandon Jackson’s feature debut documents the Oceti Sakowin Oyate Nation’s protests – known commonly but erroneously as the Sioux Nation – against the infamous Dakota Access Pipeline. A patchy structure in the film’s first half eventually gives way to an animating depiction of struggle against colonial rule.
★★★★☆ Terence Davies’ first feature since 2016 is a moving biopic of the war poet Siegfried Sassoon: an anti-war film in the sense that we never see the conflict, yet its traumas echo throughout the life of its protagonist. Amidst the horrors of the Great War, army lieutenant and poet Siegfried Sassoon (Jack Lowden) petitions to end the bloodshed.
★★★☆☆ A gauche young man plays guitar and sings a song he wrote to the devoted pleasure of his parents. That was The Squid and the Whale, Noah Baumbach’s 2005 acerbic comedy of family disintegration. Jesse Eisenberg played the young man, while the song was actually by Pink Floyd which the boy was trying to pass off as his own.
★★★☆☆ There’s something fitting about a zombie movie remake. To paraphrase Vic Reeves, “You wouldn’t let it die”. And if you’re going to remake a zombie film, why not pick one of the best of recent years. That seems to be the thinking behind Michel Hazanavicius’ Final Cut, a zom-com that faithfully replays Shinichiro Ueda’s One Cut of the Dead, which made a crimson splash in 2017.