Friday, 20 May 2016


After two consecutive days of deflation, Cannes 2016 leapt right back into form with two very different films that nevertheless have inspired a very similar level of debate. Cristian Mungiu's Graduation joins fellow Romanian New Wave competition entry Sieranevada by Cristi Puiu in impressing journalists at the festival, inspiring raves from some reviewers. More raves, and more unexpectedly, for Nicolas Winding Refn's The Neon Demon, though not without an equal amount of pans - Refn's film drew even heftier booing than Olivier Assayas' Personal Shopper did three days ago, with many reported walk-outs and even mid-film heckles at the first press screening.

With reviews like that (and so many of them for a second screening of the day), one could imagine George Miller's jury going either way with The Neon Demon. Not so much with Graduation, which seems on a likelier path toward probable award wins, and thus seems a likelier contender for the Palme. It claims a higher spot on the Palme Poll as a result.

Still no word on the final film to show in Critics' Week, A Yellow Bird by K. Rajagopal, even as that strand officially concludes with its prize-giving ceremony. Never mind, as Un Certain Regard and Directors' Fortnight continue in earnest. UCR gave us two titles today: Juho Kuosmanen's The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki, which was well-received by what few critics even saw it, and Stefano Mordini's Pericle, which was met with less enthusiasm. Directors' Fortnight also gave us two: Houda Benyamina's debut Divines, which also wasn't seen by many but was praised regardless, and Laura Poitras' hotly-anticipated Risk, which drew largely good responses, if more muted ones compared to the reception to her previous film, the Oscar-winning Citizenfour.

The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki's supporters should be happy to know that it stands a good chance of winning some top UCR awards, according to the official SOS poll; not so much for Pericle, which places lower in the rankings. And both Divines and Risk fare well in the Directors' Fortnight rankings. The Critics' Week section remains open until after all awards are announced; A Yellow Bird remains to be reviewed at time of writing, and all Critics' Week and Directors' Fortnight films combined are in contention for a joint FIPRESCI Prize this weekend.

Official Competition
Graduation (Cristian Mungiu)
Variety / The Hollywood Reporter / The Playlist / The Upcoming / Little White Lies / Screen Daily / The Guardian / Cineuropa / The A.V. Club / Film Comment / International Cinephile Society
The Neon Demon (Nicolas Winding Refn)
The Wrap / The Telegraph / IndieWire / Little White Lies / Variety / The Playlist / Screen Daily / The Upcoming / The Hollywood Reporter

Un Certain Regard
The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki (Juho Kuosmanen)
The Upcoming / Screen Daily / The Hollywood Reporter
Pericle (Stefano Mordini)
The Hollywood Reporter / Variety / Cineuropa / Screen Daily

Directors' Fortnight
Divines (Uda Benyamina)
The Hollywood Reporter / Variety
Risk (Laura Poitras)
The Hollywood Reporter / Variety / The Telegraph / Cine-Vue / Screen Daily / IndieWire / The Guardian / The Wrap / The Playlist / Film Comment