Turn off the Lights

Cannes in 60 Seconds: The Dreariest Festival

We're about halfway through the 65th annual Cannes Film Festival, and the only thing drearier than the weather is this year's crop of competition titles.

Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom kicked off the festival and received some strong reviews, but its buzz has died down a bit replaced by either muted praise or mild disappointment for new films from established international auteurs like Abbas Kiarostami (Certified Copy), Walter Salles (The Motorcycle Diaries) and Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days).

Two films have earned near universal praise. One is unsurprising: Michael Haneke's Amour. A former Palme d'Or winner (2009 for the Oscar-nominated The White Ribbon), Haneke's new film is a portrait of love at the end of life. Its leads (Emmanuelle Riva and Jean-Louis Trintignant) are frontrunners for Cannes acting gold, and if nothing else emerges, there's a definite possibility that Haneke takes home his second Palme.

The other unanimous hit of the festival was one of the more under-the-radar titles going in. French director Leos Carax hasn't made a film this millennium until now, and Holy Motors sounds like it will be one of the strangest, most original films of the year. Eva Mendes, Kylie Minogue(!) and French actor Denis Lavant star in the story of a man who, over the course of 24 hours, becomes a murderer, beggar, CEO, monstrous creature and father. Trippy cinema is sometimes the flavour du jour at Cannes, and if that's the case this year, Carax is leaving the festival with some gold.

Other films with generally positive buzz include Rust and Bone, Jacques Audiard's follow-up to 2009's A Prophet, John Hillcoat's Lawless starring Tom Hardy and Shia LaBeouf as small-time Prohibition-era crooks and Killing Me Softly, directed by Andrew Dominik and starring Brad Pitt.

The festival isn't over yet. We still have world premieres of David Cronenberg's Cosmopolis and Lee Daniels' The Paperboy, among other films. We'll be back this weekend with a report on award winners and studio pickups.


Meet the Author

Follow Us