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.
★★★★☆ On 10 January 2016, everything went wrong. It was reminiscent of the poem The Day Lady Died by Frank O’Hara: “…everyone and I stopped breathing”. In the years following the death of David Bowie we’ve had Brexit, Donald Trump won the American Presidency, a global pandemic killed millions of people and we are now on the brink of a third world war.
★★★☆☆ David Cronenberg first made Crimes of the Future in 1972. It was a disturbing account of a plague that killed all sexually mature women. It was transgressive, low-budget, and shocking. Now, with a reputation built over half-a-century of work, Cronenberg has returned to the scene of his Crimes… with an A-list ensemble in tow.
★★★★★ Parents are normal people too. They might not seem it but once you have a kid, you become a care provider, a hotelier, a therapist, a nurse, a taxi driver, a chef and a thousand other things. You become mum or dad and the idea that you too might have a life – an internal life – is something that shrinks, even shrivels.
★★★★☆ James Gray is one of those American filmmakers who – like Jerry Lewis – enjoys much greater critical acclaim in France than in his home country. Unlike Jerry Lewis, the French have a point. Whether it’s the neo-noir of We Own the Night or the ménage à trois of Two Lovers, Gray has managed to pursue an intensely personal vision through a range of genres.