May 102016


The 2016 addition of the Cannes Film Festival, arguably the World’s most prestigious festival, is about to kick off in France. This year there is an unusually high 21 films competing for the Palm d’Or, after Asghar Farhadi’s The Salesman was a late addition to the official competition. Outside of the official competition, films also screen in the Un Certain Regard section, as well as at a number of out of competition and special screenings.

With so much on, what is there to look out for? Well, we’ll be paying close attention to the reactions to the films listed after the jump.

The Neon Demon (Nicolas Winding Refn) – Winding Refn’s last Cannes outing wasn’t exactly smooth sailing for the Danish director – Only God Forgives was booed at its glitzy première. Some excellent films are booed at Cannes, so that tells me the film is interesting rather than bad. The Neon Demon looks to be cut from a similar cloth as Only God Forgives – edgy, visually striking, and atmospheric.

Staying Vertical (Alain Guiraudie) – Guiraudie’s début feature Stranger By The Lake was a claustrophobic, chilling thriller set on the shores of an idyllic, isolated countryside lake. Very interested to see what he does with a larger setting.

Personal Shopper (Olivier Assayas) – Two years ago Assayas stunned with Clouds of Sils Maria, and this year he is back with another film starring Kristen Stewart, this time in the lead role. We love Stewart and are very happy to see how many people are finally getting the fact she is insanely talented.

Paterson and Gimme Danger(Jim Jarmusch) – Only Lovers Left Alive is one of our favourite films from the last 5 years, so we are beyond excited Jarmusch has not one, but two new films for us. We’re mostly pumped for Paterson, a small-scale drama about a bus driver (Adam Driver) and his home-maker wife and the beauty of small things in our daily lives. Jarmusch also has The Stooges doco Gimme Danger playing out of competition.

Loving (Jeff Nichols). Every single film Nichols has made is very good, therefore of course we are looking forward to this. Joel Edgerton was so excellent in Midnight Special (which was only released this year – we are not worthy), and he’s back in a lead role in Loving.

It’s Only The End Of The World (Xavier Dolan) – It’s Dolan. No explanation needed.

In reality we could list almost the entire official competition selection – Elle, The Salesman, Julieta, The Unknown Girl, America Honey, The Handmaiden, etc. On paper it’s one of the best line-ups in recent memory. The Un Certain Regard section has some promising titles also, with Kore-eda’s After the Storm, and Matt Ross’s Captain Fantastic standing out. Anticipated Hollywood films such as The BFG and The Nice Guys also make an appearance in special out of competition screenings. These films must provide a nice escape for those seeing back-to-back serious arthouse fare.

The interesting thing about Cannes is that films that weren’t on your radar can suddenly become among your most anticipated for the year. All it takes is one screening, a bunch of excited tweets which are followed up by well-written reviews from those lucky enough to attend. We can’t wait to follow along from home. One day we’ll attend…one day.