Goodbye to Language – The Wonders – Leviathan – Winter Sleep – Leviathan – The Search – White God

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Other Fests: Venice / Chicago

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Jurors: Jane Campion (president), Carole Bouquet, Sofia Coppola, Willem Dafoe, Gael García Bernal, Leila Hatami, Jeon Do-yeon, Jia Zhangke, Nicolas Winding Refn
 

 
Palme d'Or:Winter Sleep, Turkey, dir. Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Grand Jury Prize:The Wonders, Italy, dir. Alice Rohrwacher
Jury Prize:Goodbye to Language, Switzerland, dir. Jean-Luc Godard
Mommy, Canada, dir. Xavier Dolan
Best Director:Foxcatcher, Bennett Miller
Best Actress:Maps to the Stars, Julianne Moore
Best Actor:Mr. Turner, Timothy Spall
Best Screenplay:Leviathan, Andrei Zvyagintsev and Oleg Negin
Technical Grand Prize:Mr. Turner, Dick Pope, cinematographer
FIPRESCI/International
    Critics Prize:
Winter Sleep, Turkey, dir. Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Prize of the Ecumenical Jury:Timbuktu, France/Mauritania, dir. Abderrahmane Sissako
Caméra d'Or (first feature):Party Girl, France, Marie Amachoukeli-Barsacq, Claire Burger, and Sameul Theis



Competition Films I Have Seen:
Ranked in order of preference
 
My Palme d'Or
Goodbye to Language 3D (France/Switzerland, dir. Jean-Luc Godard) - 3D unbound. Godard swipes your iPhone, converts it to a fully live lunar module, hands it back to you, sneers.

Mr. Turner (UK, dir. Mike Leigh) - Some blunter moments, but Leigh, like Turner, can see a thing, what's in and around it, and whom and what it implicates.

Timbuktu (Mauritania, dir. Abderrahmane Sissako) - Eloquent, somber, and visually gripping. Opens out Sissako's style for wider consumption without yielding a simple film.

The Wonders (Italy, dir. Alice Rohrwacher) - Manages rusticity and mystery at the same time. Filtered credibly through young girl's POV but sees in all directions.

The Homesman (USA, dir. Tommy Lee Jones) - Keeps complicating themes, theses, characters. Ungainly at times but subtly, repeatedly ahead of where I'd pegged it.

Winter Sleep (Turkey, dir. Nuri Bilge Ceylan) - Patient, tonally complex dialogues reveal character but avoid histrionics. Images more beautiful than interesting.

Two Days, One Night (Belgium, dirs. Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne) - Frank tale of communal solidarity in precarious times; equally evocative as depression study, marital profile.

Wild Tales (Argentina, dir. Damián Szifron) - A director sat in Argentina reflecting on Pulp Fiction. And on Argentina as charred accident, rigged game, brutal union.

Leviathan (Russia, dir. Andrei Zvyagintsev) - Zvyagintsev makes ever more handsome movies and spins a good, novelistic yarn, but prosaic tendencies limit impact here.

Still the Water (Japan, dir. Naomi Kawase) - Cannes Competition maybe not ideal place to meet this somewhat conventional but sensitive, moving small-town drama.

Maps to the Stars (USA/Canada, dir. David Cronenberg) - Rare film to feel so blazingly, somewhat boringly on-the-nose yet so elusive. Am I impressed or annoyed by that?

Foxcatcher (USA, dir. Bennett Miller) - Solid cast, suffocating direction. Clear, repetitive audience cues. Overblown tragic tenor. Like Nolan doing Quiz Show.

Clouds of Sils Maria (France, dir. Olivier Assayas) - Directed with Assayas' usual lightness but script underscores concepts that feel plenty clear. Disappointing.

Mommy (Canada, dir. Xavier Dolan) - Local beats and long arcs are earnest but rote. Remaking She's So Lovely with teen boy as Sean Penn is an odd bid for growth.

The Search (France, dir. Michel Hazanavicius) - I felt defensive on this sincere if unadventurous film's behalf. but Bejo's thread keeps worsening. Just sturdy enough.

The Captive (Canada, dir. Atom Egoyan) - Egoyan can't let go of fractured narratives, kids in sexual peril, blunt motifs of Mediation. He is his own albatross.



Sidebar Selections I Have Seen:
Ranked in order of preference
 
Silvered Water, Syria Self-Portrait (Special Screenings: Syria, dirs. Ossama Mohammed and Wiam Simav Bedirxan) - Artists' anguished epistolary and citizens' hand-made archive of three years of Syrian inferno.

National Gallery (Directors' Fortnight: USA, dir. Frederick Wiseman) - Less admin than you'd expect; squarer focus on arts and detailed labors of many kinds. Such edits! Exhilarating.

The Tribe (Critics' Week: Ukraine, dir. Myroslav Slaboshpitskiy) - Sign-language idiom endemic to plot, theme, yet story holds up in any context. Bold, muscular, and politically resonant.

Pride (Directors' Fortnight: UK, dir. Matthew Warchus) - An exuberant, pop-colored antidepressant. A pointed call to political action. An ensemble triumph. A hearty tearjerker. Go!

Li'l Quinquin (Directors' Fortnight: France, dir. Bruno Dumont) - Peter Sellers in pastoral France? Did Dumont take a bet to remake Se7en after a Kaurismäki bender? If so: nailed it!

It Follows (Critics' Week: USA, dir. David Robert Mitchell) - Seat-gripping horror that swiftly sets out tricky conceit; sustains it well, with welcome humor and mystery. Ace score.

Jauja (Un Certain Regard: Argentina, dir. Lisandro Alonso) - Engagingly odd. An imperial tale and a critique of one, as surveyor strays from soldiers' band, solipsizing land as he goes.

Girlhood (Directors' Fortnight: France, dir. Céline Sciamma) - Nimble, multifaceted: apt pair with Boyhood or Pariah or 400 Blows. Evokes adolescent confusion without seeming confused.

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (Directors' Fortnight: France, dir. Isao Takahata) - As lyrical, painstaking, and undisguised a swansong for a major animator as The Wind Rises. Equally plaintive, somewhat more familiar, but much clearer tale of leaving the earth than Interstellar.

Amour fou (Un Certain Regard: Austria, dir. Jessica Hausner) - Reverses heat-beneath-the-surface period-drama tropes. Instead exhumes philosophical coolness in tale of passionate will.

Force Majeure (Un Certain Regard: Sweden, dir. Ruben Östlund) - Great start excuses diminishing returns over time. Östlund reluctant to cede spotlight to his own characters?

Maidan (Special Screenings: Ukraine, dir. Sergei Loznitsa) - Valuable series of static, Wiseman-like panoramas of buildup and conflict—a style with pros and cons for filming revolution.

Bird People (Un Certain Regard: France, dir. Pascale Ferran) - Winsome but not frivolous fable about freedoms we envy, imagine, and maybe enjoy. Stiff at times but glides at others.

Refugiado (Directors' Fortnight: Argentina, dir. Diego Lerman) - Smart, nerve-wracking study of wages of fear wrought by domestic violence. May not advance the form, but compels.

White God (Un Certain Regard: Hungary, dir. Kornél Mundruczó) - Preposterous, despite its welcome currents of conviction. More compelling in its eccentricity than attempted grandeur.

Next to Her (Directors' Fortnight: Israel, dir. Asaf Korman) - Autobiographical legacies palpable in the details, but film isn't insular. Sensitive yet tough on sisterly tie.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 (Out of Competition: USA, dir. Dean DeBlois) - Pig in the City-ish: darker, vaster, less affecting. Fitful grandeur. Bit over-invested in alpha males.

Cold in July (Director's Fortnight: USA, dir. Jim Mickle) - Pure narrative guessing game, then something more interesting, then something less. Blue Ruin does this stuff better.

The Blue Room (Un Certain Regard: France, dir. Mathieu Amalric) - Amalric gives Simenon more sensual immediacy than spiritual force. Sharp, tiny shard of erotic pull and retribution.

Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem (Directors' Fortnight: Israel, dirs. Ronit Elkabetz and Shlomi Elkabetz) - Even most intriguing ironies are badly encumbered by stultifying images and repetitive scenario.

Whiplash (Directors' Fortnight: USA, dir. Damien Chazelle) - Based on the TV Precious' Mom Threw Down the Stairwell. Blunt direction pummels home confused story and characterizations.

Xenia (Un Certain Regard: Greece, dir. Panos H. Koutras) - Loose-leaf notebook of queer kitsch ideas. Stabs at allegory. Unconvincing, low-level fun; takes intermittent risks.

A Girl at My Door (Un Certain Regard: South Korea, dir. July Jung) - Crude plotting and acting corrode promising lesbian-antihero potential. Unsteady takes on its characters.

The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them (Un Certain Regard: USA, dir. Ned Benson) - Nearly Evening-level case of vague characters, clichéd scenarios foisted on overqualified cast.

The Rover (Out of Competition: Australia, dir. David Michôd) - Post-apocalyptic, bullet-addicted Dude, Where's My Car? But worse. Michôd's bold style becomes turgid, nasty self-parody.



Films in the Main Competition:
Ranked in order of interest; more on this year's lineup here (opens in a new window)
 
Saint Laurent, France, dir. Bertrand Bonello
Jimmy's Hall, UK, dir. Ken Loach



Sidebar Films I'm Curious to See:
Listed alphabetically; more on this year's lineup here (opens in a new window)
 
Un Certain Regard: Charlie's Country, Australia, dir. Rolf de Heer
Lost River, USA, dir. Ryan Gosling
Misunderstood, Italy/France, dir. Asia Argento
Party Girl, France, dirs. Marie Amachoukeli-Barsacq, et al.
The Salt of the Earth, France/Italy/Brazil, dirs. Wim Wenders and Juliano Ribeiro Salgado
That Lovely Girl, Israel, dir. Keren Yedaya
Directors' Fortnight: Alleluia, France, dir. Fabrice Du Welz
Les Combattants, France, dir. Thomas Cailley
Queen and Country, UK, dir. John Boorman
Tu dors Nicole, France, dir. Stéphane Lafleur
Critics' Week: Breathe, France, dir. Mélanie Laurent
Faire: l'amour (FLA), France, dir. Djinn Carrénard
Hope, France, dir. Boris Lojkine
Out of Competition: Bridges of Sarajevo, Misc., dirs. Aida Begić, et al.
Coming Home, China, dir. Zhang Yimou
Grace of Monaco, France/US/Belgium/Italy, dir. Olivier Dahan
In the Name of My Daughter, France, dir. André Téchiné
The Salvation, Denmark/UK/South Africa, dir. Kristian Levring

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