★★★★☆ Following Ex Machina and Annihilation, writer and director Alex Garland returns to the green, green pastures of home with a new chiller on just how toxic masculinity can be. Jessie Buckley plays Harper, a woman in need of a retreat following the tragic end of her relationship with James (Paapa Essiedu).
★★★★☆ 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.
★★★★★ If there’s one criticism of Ruben Östlund’s Palme d’Or-winning The Square, it’s that his satire wasn’t so much shooting fish in a barrel as nuking a pod of whales in a glass of water. The art world is full of self-obsessed poseurs? You don’t say. His new film, Triangle of Sadness, begins with a series of riffs on how vacuous the world of high fashion is.
★★★★★ 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.
★★★★☆ A woman goes to her mother’s funeral. At the wake afterwards she meets a man who she chats to and he gives her his number. The next morning she can’t find the slip of paper she’d written his number on. The following week she kills her sister. Why? Have a think. You’ve got your answer? Okay, if you say something along the lines of she found out her sister had stolen the number or was dating the man, then you’re normal.
★★☆☆☆ We all have directors that we don’t seem to get on with. We might admire their technical prowess or their commitment, but for some reason we just don’t click. For this critic, that’s the Dardenne brothers – Jean-Pierre and Luc – the Belgian filmmaking team that have brought a series of what are widely considered modern classics.
★★★★☆ 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.