Sunday, 15 May 2016

CANNES 2016: DAY THREE - AMERICAN HONEY, THE HANDMAIDEN


Two very different offerings screened today for journalists attending the Cannes Film Festival on its third day. First was Park Chan Wook's hotly-anticipated The Handmaiden, whose graphic sexual content and opulent design impressed many, though most of the good write-ups held their praises in check, and there were some dissenters. A similar reception met Andrea Arnold's American Honey, the third film in the seven thus far in competition for the Palme d'Or to approach a three-hour runtime. Raves for this one, but rather more middling reviews for her return to the Croisette. Interestingly, the last time either Park or Arnold were at Cannes was seven years ago, when they shared the Jury Prize for Thirst and Fish Tank, respectively.

Neither The Handmaiden nor American Honey has shown a level of acclaim to warrant a high placement on the Palme Poll, though neither is out of the running for awards consideration by any means. Park's film takes 5th place, Arnold's 3rd.

Outside of main competition, the other big strands largely premiered less well-known works - after all, today did mark the debut of Steven Spielberg's The BFG, out of competition. The most high-profile were in Directors' Fortnight, where Alejandro Jodorowsky's Endless Poetry was fairly well-liked, and there was positivity for Paolo Virzi's Like Crazy too. Un Certain Regard showed Fukada Koji's Harmonium and Michael O'Shea's The Transfiguration - both were appreciated (to different amounts and extents) by critics. But the best reviews of the day overall might belong to the days new Critics' Week title, Julia Ducournau's Raw.

Raw is easily the best-reviewed of the three Critics' Week films thus far, and takes top place in its poll, first in line to claim major awards in all likelihood. But the other titles each claim lower slots in their respective polls.

Official Competition
American Honey (Andrea Arnold)
The Handmaiden (Park Chan Wook)

Un Certain Regard
Harmonium (Fukada Koji)
The Transfiguration (Michael O'Shea)

Critics' Week
Raw (Julia Ducournau)

Directors' Fortnight
Endless Poetry (Alejandro Jodorowsky)
Like Crazy (Paolo Virzi)