Elle – Endless Poetry – The Neon Demon – Toni Erdmann – Wolf and Sheep – It's Only the End of the World – American Honey

Jurors: George Miller (president), Arnaud Desplechin, Kirsten Dunst, Valeria Golino, Mads Mikkelsen, László Nemes, Vanessa Paradis, Katayoon Shahabi, Donald Sutherland

Palme d'Or:I, Daniel Blake, UK, dir. Ken Loach
Grand Jury Prize:It's Only the End of the World, Canada, dir. Xavier Dolan
Jury Prize: American Honey, UK/USA, dir. Andrea Arnold
Best Director:Graduation, Cristian Mungiu
Personal Shopper, Olivier Assayas
Best Actress:Ma' Rosa, Jaclyn José
Best Actor:The Salesman, Shahab Hosseini
Best Screenplay:The Salesman, Asghar Farhadi
    Critics Prize:
Toni Erdmann, Germany, dir. Maren Ade
Prize of the Ecumenical Jury:It's Only the End of the World, Canada, dir. Xavier Dolan
Caméra d'Or (first feature):Divines, France/Qatar, Houda Benyamina

Competition Films I Have Seen:
Ranked in order of preference
My Palme d'Or
Aquarius (Brazil, dir. Kleber Mendonça Filho) - Sinuous portrait of a woman's life accumulates into a strong central current but also sails a hundred tributaries. Magic.

Elle (France, dir. Paul Verhoeven) - A combustion engine. Pure bad taste is its fossil fuel, but it's hard to be angry because it produces such unexpected art.

The Salesman (Iran, dir. Asghar Farhadi) - Complex story about sexual assault and mercenary prosecution is also a deft meditation on identity as a performance.

Toni Erdmann (Germany, dir. Maren Ade) - Starts as The Devil Wears Dada. Ends as white collar Melancholia. I admire the specificity of its aims. Did I like it?

American Honey (UK/USA, dir. Andrea Arnold) - Watching the film leap, tumble, and find itself is even more exciting than watching Star do so. Thrilling ambition.

Julieta (Spain, dir. Pedro Almodóvar) - A wave and a reef—feelings roll in startlingly deep surges but themes, motives, and style are intricate, sprawling, alive.

Sieranevada (Romania, dir. Cristi Puiu) - Pulls into its lane early. Course stays pretty consistent but the cast and camera negotiate it expertly. Very assured.

Personal Shopper (France, dir. Olivier Assayas) - Exciting how many moods and genres this film tries on, even if its ideas seem gradually simpler. Stewart nails it.

I, Daniel Blake (UK, dir. Ken Loach) - "I, Ken Loach, have never wavered in my politics and maybe I don't modulate each scene but this is who I fuckin' am."

Slack Bay (France, dir. Bruno Dumont) - Not a knockout on the level of Li'l Quinquin but it's still fun watching Dumont discover (or reveal?) his farcical side.

Graduation (Romania, dir. Cristian Mungiu) - 4 Months, 3 Cachés, and too many movies with solid but similar tactics for winching up tension around bourgeois misdeed.

The Unknown Girl (Belgium, dirs. Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne) - Imagine Margaret retold in the Dardennes' cooler, more clinical, still compassionate voice. Not a peak, but solid.

Paterson (USA, dir. Jim Jarmusch) - Aim is to craft and sustain a unique wavelength. That it does, admirably, but the vision feels small, its tactics uneven.

The Handmaiden (South Korea, dir. Park Chan-wook) - Bound, but with book binding. Fifty Shades of Korean Cray. I respected the madness and shifty tone but felt little.

Loving (USA, dir. Jeff Nichols) - Taciturn telling of a justice crusade. Honors the self-effacing plaintiffs but also risks a certain docility. Negga's good.

Staying Vertical (France, dir. Alain Guiraudie) - Another study of abject desire, but entropic where Stranger by the Lake was demonically controlled. I feel mixed.

The Neon Demon (USA, dir. Nicolas Winding Refn) - We've all met this Project Runway designer: technically precocious executor of ghastly or trite ideas. Meretricious.

From the Land of the Moon (France, dir. Nicole Garcia) - Film and star turn seem dull at first then steadily, quietly get more engaging. Then comes a dire twist.

It's Only the End of the World (Canada, dir. Xavier Dolan) - Dolan hangs a whole movie on formal conceits even cruder than Mommy's. He also mismanages his cast.

Sidebar Selections I Have Seen:
Ranked in order of preference
Neruda (Director's Fortnight; Chile, dir. Pablo Larraín) - Martyrdom and persecution, reciprocally embellishing each other. Larraín's heady concepts as twisty and tight as a knot.

The Death of Louis XIV (Out of Competition; France/Spain/Portugal, dir. Albert Serra) - Serra's painterly eye and uncanny grasp of period remain unrivaled. Demands but also impresses quite a lot.

Wolf and Sheep (Director's Fortnight; Afghanistan, dir. Shahrbanoo Sadat) - Afghani woman's tantalizing debut merges documentary and dreamscape elements into a coherent and controlled whole.

Hell or High Water (Un Certain Regard; USA, dir. David Mackenzie) - No Country for Old Men's rascally little brother slowly builds a sly identity of its own. Foster keeps amazing.

After the Storm (Un Certain Regard; Japan, dir. Hirokazu Kore-eda) - Observant, well-acted drama, whatever my lingering reservations about Kore-eda's style. Filling, like a good novel.

Captain Fantastic (Un Certain Regard; USA, dir. Matt Ross) - Libertarian/capitalist lifestyle duel, extreme on each side, with bipolar disorder serving as metaphor and ghost.

The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki (Un Certain Regard; Finland, dir. Juho Kuosmanen) - Amiable black-and-white Finnish boxing drama is, in theme and form, a tribute to modesty.

Raw (Critics' Week; France, dir. Julia Ducournau) - Premise and style both present as tours de force—maybe too self-consciously so. Very compelling surface. But what lies beneath?

The Nice Guys (Out of Competition; USA, dir. Shane Black) - Noncommittal title. Convoluted script. Antically inhabits space between those poles. Fun, then not, then fun, then n

Café Society (Out of Competition; USA, dir. Woody Allen) - Why can't Allen fear mediocrity as much as mortality? Cast feels ready to do more. Good bits make lamer ones feel sad.

Money Monster (Out of Competition; USA, dir. Jodie Foster) - Jodie's Globe speech all over again. You can tell what truth it's trying to speak but it convolutes and eats itself.

Films in the Main Competition:
Ranked in order of interest; more on this year's lineup here (opens in a new window)
Ma' Rosa, Philippines, dir. Brillante Mendoza
The Last Face, USA, dir. Sean Penn

Sidebar Films I'm Curious to See:
Listed alphabetically; click names of sidebars for more titles (in a new window)
Un Certain Regard: Clash, Egypt, dir. Mohamed Diab
Dogs, Romania, dir. Bogdan Mirica
Harmonium, Japan, dir. Kôji Fukada
Inversion, Iran, dir. Behnam Behzadi
The Red Turtle, France/Belgium/Japan, dir. Michael Dudok de Wit
The Student, Russia, dir. Kirill Serebrennikov
Directors' Fortnight: After Love, France/Belgium, dir. Joachim Lafosse
Divines, France/Qatar, dir. Houda Benyamina
Dog Eat Dog, USA, dir. Paul Schrader
Endless Poetry, Chile, dir. Alejandro Jodorowsky
Like Crazy, Italy, dir. Paolo Virzì
The Lives of Thérèse, France, dir. Sébastien Lifshitz
My Life as a Zucchini, France, dir. Claude Barras
Risk, Germany/USA, dir. Laura Poitras
Sweet Dreams, Italy, dir. Marco Bellocchio
Two Lovers and a Bear, Canada, dir. Kim Nguyen
Critics' Week: Mimosas, Spain/Morocco/France/Qatar, dir. Oliver Laxe
Rabih, Lebanon/France/Qatar, dir. Vatche Boulghourjian
Out of Competition: The BFG, USA/UK, dir. Steven Spielberg
Exile, Cambodia, dir. Rithy Panh
My Journey through French Cinema, France, dir. Bertrand Tavernier
Train to Busan, South Korea, dir. Yeon Sang-ho
The Wailing, South Korea, dir. Na Hong-jin

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