Monday, 25 May 2015


Brad Bird is a skilled director of action, and an empathetic director of drama. He understands spatial dynamics and fluid, effective editing as keenly as he understands relationship dynamics and subtle character detail. It's a shame to see his skills exploited for such measly ends in Tomorrowland, a film whose shortcomings can neatly be attributed to its production company (Disney) and its co-writer (Damon Lindelof), though not in whole. Alas, Bird drops the ball in Tomorrowland, a film so high off its own sense of wonder that it neglects to inspire the same sense in its audience. We're firmly in post-Spielberg school here, in that Bird joins the likes of JJ Abrams and co. in self-consciously and unsuccessfully aping methods once used by Steven Spielberg. To do so is to deny one's own vision as a filmmaker, though to what extent Tomorrowland represents any particular filmmaker's vision is questionable. The film dribbles forward, with the plot generously interspersed with action scenes that display curiously little visual ingenuity and precious little propulsion - that which the film itself desperately needs, but is refused principally due to those action scenes. The film becomes a mystery adventure, in which the protagonist (a grating Britt Robertson) seems perpetually in awe... but of what? Kitschy design and passe sci-fi plotting immeasurably reduce the depth of awe that any of us might experience at, say, a space pod hurtling through dimensions. The camera is mostly trained on the actors' faces in this scene, and watching movie stars' vaguely nauseous expressions wobble left and right for an entire scene makes me wonder indeed: "I wonder why this movie got made?" I'm still wondering.

Sunday, 24 May 2015


On a slate of winners packed full of expected parties, though not all in their expected positions, and peppered with shock upsets, the greatest upset of all occurred in the greatest category of all: the Palme d'Or. Contrary to reviews declaring it to be a 'minor' work (or thereabouts) from director Jacques Audiard, his immigrant drama Dheepan took home the Cannes Film Festival's top award today, Sunday the 24th of May 2015. Audiard beat a host of acclaimed titles to the prize, many of whom were honoured in other categories. One such film was Todd Haynes' Carol, which had been predicted to at least bring home the gold for star Cate Blanchett if it failed to win any of the top awards - it did win the Best Actress prize, but not for Blanchett, as her co-star Rooney Mara shared the award with Emmanuelle Bercot, fending off the negative reports she and her film, Maiwenn's Mon Roi, received, and with a heavy oul trophy to give her extra clout. Full details of the Coen brothers' jury's decisions below, alongside Camera d'Or, Palme d'Or (Short Film) and Palme d'Or d'Honeur results below:

Palme d'Or
Dheepan (Jacques Audiard)

Grand Prix
Son of Saul (Nemes Laszlo)

Prix du Jury
The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos)

Prix de la Mise-en-Scene
Hou Hsiao Hsien (The Assassin)

Prix d'Interpretation Feminine
Emmanuelle Bercot (Mon Roi)
Rooney Mara (Carol)

Prix d'Interpretation Masculin
Vincent Lindon (The Measure of a Man)

Prix du Scenario
Michel Franco (Chronic)

Camera d'Or
Land and Shade (Cesar Augusto Acevedo)

Palme d'Or (Short Film)
Waves '98 (Ely Dagher)

Palme d'Or d'Honeur
Agnes Varda


Films have been showing at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival for eleven days now, and awards have been rolling in for the past two. 19 films are competing for the festival's final set of awards, decided upon by Ethan and Joel Coen's jury and topping out with the prestigious Palme d'Or. Below, a brief analysis of the seven categories which the Coens and their fellow jury members are set to present later today, at the Cannes Closing Ceremony, beginning at 17:50 GMT.

Palme d'Or

The festival's top award is often handed out to one of Cannes' grandest titles, perhaps a work of particular social or artistic importance. Plenty of those in competition this year, with a variety of highly-acclaimed films vying for this prize. With consideration to the lineup of jury members this year, genre fare is expected to do well.

The Contenders: Hou Hsiao Hsien's The AssassinTodd Haynes' Carol, Yorgos Lanthimos' The Lobster, Justin Kurzel's MacbethJia Zhang Ke's Mountains May Depart, Nemes Laszlo's Son of SaulMatteo Garrone's Tale of Tales, Paolo Sorrentino's Youth

Grand Prix

In the past, the Grand Prix has gone to a wide variety of types of film. You might expect a more broadly liked, rather than loved, title than that which wins the Palme, or perhaps a film awarded more as a commendation than as a recommendation. Or perhaps this might be a more high-profile title than the Palme winner, since a less well-known film may benefit more from winning the bigger prize.

The Contenders: See above - this prize is virtually indistinguishable from the Palme d'Or, only this is the Silver, and the Palme is (literally) the Gold.

Prix du Jury

Last year there was a tie in this category: one to the youngest filmmaker in the competition (current jury member Xavier Dolan) and one to the oldest (Jean-Luc Godard). This is the perfect forum to recognise innovation or creativity, even if the film itself is somewhat lacking in comparison to the winners of the Palme and the Grand Prix.

The Contenders: Again, this award will likely be taken from the remaining films after the two above prizes have been catered to.

Uh-oh, here comes a cut! There's plenty more to read underneath it though!

Saturday, 23 May 2015


It's the sixth year of Cannes' Queer Palm, and the winner may well be the award's most acclaimed title yet. Todd Haynes' Carol, an adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's The Price of Salt, wins the award for its depiction of a gay relationship in the 1950s, between Cate Blanchett's title character and Rooney Mara's shopgirl. Despite it not actually containing any gay characters, Yorgos Lanthimos' The Lobster receives a Special Mention.


A generous spreading of the wealth by Isabella Rossellini's Un Certain Regard jury, as a variety of acclaimed titles won awards for Cannes' secondary strand. Icelandic comedy Rams won the top prize, the Prix Un Certain Regard, with awards being shared across the globe, from the aforementioned Northern European island nation to India, Romania, Japan, Croatia and Iran! Full details of voting below:

Prix Un Certain Regard
Rams (Grimur Hakonarson)

Jury Prize
The High Sun (Dalibor Matanic)

Best Direction
Kurosawa Kiyoshi (Journey to the Shore)

Prix Un Certain Talent
Corneliu Porumboiu (The Treasure)

Special Jury Prizes for Debut Films
Masaan (Neeraj Ghaywan)
Nahid (Ida Panahandeh)


The l'Oeil d'Or is a new award at Cannes, presented to the best documentary screening as a part of any of the festival's several programmes. Fourteen films competed for the award, with the winner revealed as Marcia Tambutti's Beyond My Grandfather Allende from the Directors' Fortnight stream. The runner-up was also announced: Stig Bjorkman's Ingrid Bergman In Her Own Words received a Special Mention from the jury. It hails from this year's Cannes Classics stream.


The Ecumenical Prize at Cannes is decided upon each year by the Ecumenical Jury, a collection of Christian filmmakers, upholding a historic tradition at Cannes of honouring a film of supreme social, moral or religious conscience. This year, two of their three selections were taken from the main competition, with an Un Certain Regard title also in the mix. Their choices can be seen below:

Ecumenical Prize
Mia Madre (Nanni Moretti)

Special Mention
The Measure of a Man (Stephane Brize)
Taklub (Brillante Mendoza)


Almost as eagerly-anticipated as the main competition jury prizes each year out of Cannes are the FIPRESCI prizes. The international critical federation hands out three official awards at each annual Cannes Film Festival, among very many others throughout the year - one for the main comp, one for Un Certain Regard and one for Critics' Week and Directors' Fortnight combined. Below are their 2015 results:

In Competition
Son of Saul (Nemes Laszlo)

Un Certain Regard
Masaan (Neeraj Ghaywan)

Critics' Week / Directors' Fortnight
Paulina (Santiago Mitre)


Here's a handful of films which showed at Cannes 2015 and weren't featured in individual posts or in other review roundups. Many of these films are new titles from the Cannes Classics strand, most others featured in Special Screenings.

Han Jun Hee's Coin Locker Girl
Pierce Conran at Twitch
Leslie Felperin at The Hollywood Reporter

Benoit Forgeard's Gaz de France
Jordan Mintzer at The Hollywood Reporter

Renaud Fessaguet and Richard Melloul's Gerard Depardieu: Larger Than Life
Jordan Mintzer at The Hollywood Reporter

Stig Bjorkman's Ingrid Bergman In Her Own Words
Deborah Young at The Hollywood Reporter

Samuel Benchetrit's Macadam Stories
Jordan Mintzer at The Hollywood Reporter

Elisabeth Kapnist's Orson Welles: Shadows & Light
Boyd van Hoeij at The Hollywood Reporter
Ben Kenigsberg at

Souleymane Cisse's Our House
Deborah Young at The Hollywood Reporter

Pavle Vuckovic's Panama
Boyd van Hoeij at The Hollywood Reporter

Emilie Brisavoine's Pauline
Boyd van Hoeij at The Hollywood Reporter

Eric Hannezo's Rabid Dogs
Jordan Mintzer at The Hollywood Reporter

Gabriel Clarke and John McKenna's Steve McQueen: The Man & Le Mans
Todd McCarthy at The Hollywood Reporter

Clara Kuperberg and Julia Kuperberg's This Is Orson Welles
Todd McCarthy at The Hollywood Reporter

Louis Garrel's Two Friends
Jordan Mintzer at The Hollywood Reporter


The Un Certain Regard awards at Cannes are traditionally held the evening before the main ceremony, and 2015 will continue that tradition. Isabella Rossellini's jury will choose from 19 titles - an equal number to those in the main competition - most of which have featured in individual posts here. A few haven't, though, so here's a roundup of all of the remaining Un Certain Regard screeners:

Laurent Lariviere's I Am a Soldier
Jonathan Romney at Screen Daily
Jon Frosch at The Hollywood Reporter

Nerraj Ghaywan's Masaan
Barbara Scharres at
Allan Hunter at Screen Daily

Roberto Minervini's The Other Side
Jordan Mintzer at The Hollywood Reporter