The Past – Norte, the End of History – Stranger by the Lake – A Touch of Sin – Blue Is the Warmest Color – Nebraska – The Immigrant

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Jurors: Steven Spielberg (president), Daniel Auteuil, Vidya Balan, Naomi Kawase, Nicole Kidman, Ang Lee, Cristian Mungiu, Lynne Ramsay, Christoph Waltz
 

 
Palme d'Or:Blue Is the Warmest Color, France, dir. Abdellatif Kechiche
Grand Jury Prize:Inside Llewyn Davis, USA, dirs. Joel and Ethan Coen
Jury Prize:Like Father, Like Son, Japan, dir. Hirokazu Kore-eda
Best Director:Heli, Amat Escalante
Best Actress:The Past, Bérénice Bejo
Best Actor:Nebraska, Bruce Dern
Best Screenplay:A Touch of Sin, Jia Zhangke
Technical Grand Prize:Grigris, Antoine Heberlé, cinematographer
FIPRESCI/International
    Critics Prize:
Blue Is the Warmest Color, France, dir. Abdellatif Kechiche
Prize of the Ecumenical Jury:The Past, France/Iran, dir. Asghar Farhadi
Caméra d'Or (first feature):Ilo Ilo, Singapore, dir. Anthony Chen



Competition Films I Have Seen:
Ranked in order of preference
 
My Palme d'Or
Heli (Mexico, dir. Amat Escalante) - Mexican drama of drug-driven mayhem mounted with cool, handsome confidence and an unsettling lack of diagnosis or closure.

Only Lovers Left Alive (USA, dir. Jim Jarmusch) - Great, poignant mood piece with killer punchlines. Vampires as wry eulogists for sicker-than-ever world.

Borgman (The Netherlands, dir. Alex van Warmerdam) - Odd, amazing thriller opening. A corker of bloody, obsidian, class-based comedy ensues. Bad end, misogynous streak mar it.

The Immigrant (USA, dir. James Gray) - Operatic conception, playing romantic hope against inexorable forces of grief and myth. Cotillard, Khondji astonish.

Inside Llewyn Davis (USA, dirs. Joel and Ethan Coen) - Aloof, icy, yet almost secretly tender. Steel, sadness, and spook knitted together. Funny-ish. Isaac amazes.

A Touch of Sin (China, dir. Jia Zhangke) - Hard work, which I'm not against. Sharp images, knotty plotting both entice. A Chinese Amores perros, but glassier.

Blue Is the Warmest Color (France, dir. Abdellatif Kechiche) - Two very compelling characterizations in engaging but oddly proportioned film with few interesting images.

Grigris (Chad, dir. Mahamat-Saleh Haroun) - Like Haroun's prior movie, combines austere realism with subtly heightened fable. Unevenly effective, but key scenes click.

Young & Beautiful (France, dir. François Ozon) - Nicely shaded but lithely direct, a treat after In the House's strenuous ingenuity. Vacth a gem; ensemble strong.

Venus in Fur (France, dir. Roman Polanski) - Defiantly ripe yet elegant-enough transfer of play with a lot up its sleeve, or down its leather boot. Desplat scores.

Like Father, Like Son (Japan, dir. Hirokazu Kore-eda) - Assured, yet full of crutches and cliché. "Sensitivity" a blessing and a curse. Floating pans, weepy pianos.

The Great Beauty (Italy, dir. Paolo Sorrentino) - Neither thesis nor style of this bright, long, grandiose movie feels fresh. Arbitrary edits. Stirring at moments.

Behind the Candelabra (USA, dir. Steven Soderbergh) - Fleeting wit but few insights into either lead. Externals splashy but not interesting. Is that all there is?

The Past (France, dir. Asghar Farhadi) - Turgid, sporadically wise wallow in exposition, with few stakes for viewers. Stale visuals. Farhadi's rhythmic gift fails.

Nebraska (USA, dir. Alexander Payne) - Payne still loves: empty images, banal music, using one character as bellwether of Reason and ranking others in relation.

Only God Forgives (France/Thailand/USA, dir. Nicolas Winding Refn) - Sharply lensed, and not uninteresting as generic and auteurist distillation. Still, a pretty despicable object.



Sidebar Selections I Have Seen:
Ranked in order of preference
 
The Selfish Giant (Directors' Fortnight: UK, dir. Clio Barnard) - Gorgeous, emotionally walloping, and unimprovably made. Wizardly synthesis of realism, fable, and subjective POV.

Norte, the End of History (Un Certain Regard: The Philippines, dir. Lav Diaz) - Hypnotic Filipino Crime and Punishment balances prodigious framing, naturalistic acting, eclectic style.

The Last of the Unjust (Out of Competition: France, dir. Claude Lanzmann) - Lanzmann's epic rigor applied to one remarkable witness whose candor tilts inevitably into contradiction.

Suzanne (Critics' Week: France, dir. Katell Quillévéré) - Another stupendous, completely confident diary of a flailing girl from a two-time director who deserves to be more famous.

The Missing Picture (Un Certain Regard: Cambodia, dir. Rithy Panh) - Moving memoir, vital history. Panh gives each clay figure own nuances, defying totalitarian edict of sameness.

La Jaula de oro (Un Certain Regard: Mexico, dir. Diego Quemada-Díez) - Less technically precocious than Sin Nombre but even more persuasive, encompassing take on northward migration.

Ilo Ilo (Directors' Fortnight: Singapore, dir. Anthony Chen) - Simple, proficient humanism at first; dislikeable family a risky center. Wise choices, narrative layers emerge over time.

The Bling Ring (Un Certain Regard: USA, dir. Sofia Coppola) - Commodities, celebrities, friends all spark the same fickle form of collector's lust. Coppola's wittiest and best.

Bastards (Un Certain Regard: France, dir. Claire Denis) - Sort of Denis' Skin I Live In, a handsome, tensile take on a story bound to repel. Semi-illuminating, fiercely confident.

All Is Lost (Out of Competition: USA, dir. J.C. Chandor) - Water, water everywhere, and not a bad or boring shot in sight. Exercisey but absorbing. Boy is Redford in good shape.

Blue Ruin (Directors' Fortnight: USA, dir. Jeremy Saulnier) - Muscular revenge thriller veined with black comedy. Fellow Virginians may detect NoVa/downstate tensions. Ace last shot.

Omar (Un Certain Regard: Palestine, dir. Hany Abu-Assad) - Coolly escalating melodrama privileges plot over style, but at least it thickens. Exciting chase, too. Gutsy and accomplished.

Miele (Un Certain Regard: Italy, dir. Valeria Golino) - Golino shows mettle with actors, solid technique in her helming debut. May not reach for the stars, but empathetic, engaging.

Bends (Un Certain Regard: Hong Kong, dir. Flora Lau) - Manages two poignant tales without gorging on pathos or forcing blunter linkages. Good lead actors. Low-key Doyle lensing.

The German Doctor (aka Wakolda) (Un Certain Regard: Argentina, dir. Lucía Puenzo) - Uneven bounty of subplots and ideas. Best stuff explores how, why we need the monsters in our midst.

My Sweet Pepper Land (Un Certain Regard: Iraq/France, dir. Hiner Saleem) - Sort of Once Upon a Time in Kurdistan—a gorgeous, broody, semi-romantic border western with charismatic leads.

Stranger by the Lake (Un Certain Regard: France, dir. Alain Guiraudie) - Solid thriller, equal parts lust and inertia, austerity and shimmer. Good lead. Still, water doesn't run deep.

The Congress (Directors' Fortnight: USA, dir. Ari Folman) - First part more focused and cutting; second part more risky in theme and style. Nervy all over but difficult to love.

Fruitvale Station (Un Certain Regard: USA, dir. Ryan Coogler) - Coogler keeps flashing turn-signals, seeking tale of structural racism in anecdotal details. But last act lands.

We Are What We Are (Director's Fortnight: USA, dir. Jim Mickle) - Director proves his talent, but Jesus Christ! (Doubles as a pushed-too-far response plus a statement of theme.)

Ain't Them Bodies Saints (Critics' Week: USA, dir. David Lowery) - The Beatification of Casey Affleck by the Genius Bradford Young. Gorgeous reel; hard to fully invest in.

Magic Magic (Directors' Fortnight: USA/Chile, dir. Sebastián Silva) - Well-shot, well-acted, uneven thriller emits startling conviction. Too bad it traffics in gamey Indigenous Ooga-Booga.

Dracula 3D (Out of Competition: Italy, dir. Dario Argento) - Two D's are for Dumb and Dumber. The other's for Delirium, which at least has its pleasures. Garishly but gamely stupid.

The Great Gatsby (Out of Competition: USA/Australia, dir. Baz Luhrmann) - I arrived skeptical about male leads, source material, and director match and only felt confirmed. Busy but flat.



Competition Films I'm Curious to See:
Ranked in order of interest; more on this year's lineup here (opens in a new window)
 
Jimmy P.: Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian, France, dir. Arnaud Desplechin
Shield of Straw, Japan, dir. Takashi Miike
Michael Kohlhaas, France/Germany, dir. Arnaud des Pallières
A Castle in Italy, France/Italy, dir. Valéria Bruni-Tedeschi



Sidebar Films I'm Curious to See:
Listed alphabetically; more on this year's lineup here (opens in a new window)
 
Un Certain Regard: As I Lay Dying, USA, dir. James Franco
Grand Central, France, dir. Rebecca Zlotowski
Manuscripts Don't Burn, Iran, dir. Mohammad Rasoulof
Nothing Bad Can Happen, Germany, dir. Katrin Gebbe
Directors' Fortnight: The Dance of Reality, Chile, dir. Alejandro Jodorowsky
Henri, France, dir. Yolande Moreau
Jodorowsky's Dune, USA, dir. Alejandro Jodorowsky
Me, Myself, and Mum, France, dir. Guillaume Gallienne
A Strange Course of Events, France/Israel, dir. Raphaël Nadjari
Critics' Week: 3x3D, France/Portugal, dirs. Peter Greenaway, Jean-Luc Godard, Edgar Pêra
The Dismantlement, Canada, dir. Sébastien Pilote
Los Dueños, Argentina, dirs. Ezequiel Radusky & Agustín Toscano
Salvo, Italy, dirs. Fabio Grassadonia & Antonio Piazza
Out of Competition: Blind Detective, Hong Kong, dir. Johnnie To

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