Cannes Film Festival is where cinephiles go to be with each other, away from the casual moviegoers and Netflix-heads of the world. It’s where the top-brass in the film business and the indie teams rub shoulders at the same events and stand equally tall in the eyes of some of the world’s best critics. Over the years, and especially of late, it’s here in the crucible of creativity that filmmakers, actors and movie industry folk alike are truly forged.
This year was unanimously considered to be a stacked deck, thanks to high-quality seen across the board – which makes choosing the best flicks a tough task. Looking not at just the most awarded, or most-hyped, we’ve compiled a list of the films that broke boundaries and challenged our understanding of cinema, as well as some obvious favourites – so here it is, The Best of Cannes Film Festival 2019.
Set in a small French town, Deerskin is about one man’s vendetta against people with bad jackets – something that we can most certainly relate to here at Man of Many. With the ultimate goal of making his the only jacket in the world, Georges (played by Jean Dujardin) hacks, slashes and handicams his way into our list with ease, in large part thanks to the creativity of the story – albeit totally ludicrous – and the films dry sense of humour, which triumphs in spite of the horror.
Naturally, being a Cannes favourite, the camerawork is subtle yet potent and the tone is unquestionably offbeat – if that’s your vibe, or if you fkn hate bad jackets, then be sure to check your local independent cinema for session times later this year, or watch the trailer here (it’s too niche even for YouTube.)
The most mainstream title to make its feature-length debut at this years Cannes, it is said that Rocketman is the Bohemian Rhapsody we should have got. This is in part due to the film’s use of magical realism to convey the way Reginald – yep that’s Elton’s real name – experiences his musical inspiration.
When rubbing shoulders with artsy independent flicks and going up against critics who are arguably itching to slag-off a movie from a major studio (Paramount), Rocketman held its own – in fact, leading man Taron Egerton received high-praise across the board for his performance. Rocketman breaches Australian cinema atmosphere officially next week.
The Distance Between Us And The Sky
A 9-minute short with the impact of a full-length picture, The Distance Between Us And The Sky is one of the more abstract films at Cannes 2019 – and that’s saying something. Set at night at a gas/petrol station nestled next to a quiet highway, two strangers meet – one, just passing through to fill up his motorcycle, the other is stranded.
Lacking the very specific 22.50EUR he needs to get home, the stranded man will try to sell him the distance that separates them and the sky. Is he an alien? Are they both the daydream of a higher being? Find out when this inevitably ends up being given for free on Youtube sometime later this month.
A British/Austrian dram-sci-fi film, Little Joe is an odd bloody film, to say the least. Centring around scientist Alice, who has developed a plant – actually many plants – that really, genuinely combats depression. While most of her colleagues ensure they are wearing masks around the charming little flowers, some don’t and instead inhale deeply of the flora.
We find out that whilst yes, you will cure your depression and find your happiness by consuming the plant’s product – in exchange, however, you’ll cease to feel any other type of emotion and become super protective of your new herb – in fact, you might even kill for it. Beyond its plot, Little Joe is a discussion of pharmaceutical treatment of unhappiness, and separately, the adverse effects that mental health struggles can have on the family unit.
All of these deep thematics are brought down to earth though, thanks to the evil/ultimate survivalist plants, in namely the films villainous plant, ‘Little Joe’. One of the more commercially viable flicks at this years Cannes, Little Joe should make its way to a cinema near you in the near future.
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
The most anticipated Cannes full-length debut from Director Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood was received exceedingly well – confirming that Tarantino can never make a bad film and that he does not need Harvey Weinstein to do what he does best. Set during the decline of the golden age of cinema, Rick Dalton (Dicaprio) is the former star of Bounty Law – a black-and-white western series – who is facing the end of his career.
His long-time stunt double (Brad Pitt), however, is far less pessimistic and revels in his life of not-so-much-luxury. Naturally, the two get mixed up in Charles Manson’s plot to murder Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie), along with numerous other violent hijinx, in what makes for a gold-standard Tarantino flick – Once Upon A Time In Hollywood should be out in Australia by July.
Winner of the Cannes Critics award and starring Robert Pattinson & Willem Dafoe, The Lighthouse – Directed by Robert Eggers – is a beautiful, dark, twisted fantasy kind of horror film. Produced by A24 (Ex Machina, Hereditary), The Lighthouse delves into the story of an ageing and alcoholic lighthouse-keeper (Willem Dafoe) who is living out his days in early-20th century Maine.
The story starts however with the introduction of his new apprentice (Robert Pattinson), who comes to hone his craft. A murky tale of madness and the supernatural, The Lighthouse is not for everyone but if you’re willing to give it a chance, it might just become one of your all-time favs in the genre. See Pattinson in his best role yet, sometime later this year.
Directed by Bon Joon-ho and winner of the Palme d’Or award, Parasite is being compared heavily to Snowpiercer – and with good reason. For one, the two films share the same director, however, Parasite hits closer to home. The film revolves around Ki-woo (Choi Woo-Shik) who is given the opportunity to work with one of the wealthier families in the Parasite universe. He jags this incredible opportunity by embellishing his resume to the point of no return and having embedded himself in their family, and finds new and interesting ways to relieve them of their money.
It’s like this – a scrappy one-man Oceans Eleven – for a good portion of the film. The latter half is far more sinister, and in keeping with the Directors request for media to keep the second half of the film a secret, we’ll not divulge it here. What we can say is that it’s a must-see, busting down the walls of the world’s harshest film critics as if they were made of paper.
The Staggering Girl
Starring Julianne Moore, The Staggering Girl makes this list thanks to its flawless execution and artistic direction. In fact, working alongside Director Luca Guadagnino was Valentino Creative Director Pier Paolo Piccioli, who helped bring us is this uniquely-told story, with style. Visceral, dreamlike and eerily displacing, The Staggering Girl is a short flick about a writer (Moore) attempting to convince her nearly-blind but the no-less sassy mother to abscond with her back to New York, leaving behind her much loved Roman home.
Dialogue-heavy, but injected with surreal and stunning memories, The Staggering Girl took home no awards but is well worth a mention as one of this years Cannes contenders with teeth.
Portrait of a Lady on Fire
Potentially the most beautiful film of Cannes, Portrait Of a Lady on Fire took home best screenplay for its stunning storytelling. Directed by Céline Sciamma, POALOF follows the story of artist Marianne (Noémie Merlant), who is commissioned to paint a portrait of Héloïse (Adèle Haenel) – the catch is, Héloïse cannot know that it’s happening.
A forced arranged marriage and a triumph of friendship drive the story to a place of restrained beauty seldom found in cinema today.
THE FULL LIST OF CANNES 2019 WINNERS
Palme d’Or: Parasite, Bong Joon-ho
Grand Prix: Atlantics, Mati Diop
Jury Prize (tie): Les Misérables, Ladj Ly, and Bacurau, Kleber Mendonça Filho, Juliano Dornelles
Best Actress: Emily Beecham, Little Joe
Best Actor: Antonio Banderas, Pain & Glory
Best Director: Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, The Young Ahmed
Best Screenplay: Céline Sciamma, Portrait of a Lady on Fire
Special Mention of the Jury: It Must Be Heaven, Elia Suleiman
Camera d’Or: Our Mothers, César Díaz
Short Film Palme d’Or: The Distance Between Us And The Sky, Vasilis Kekatos
Special Mention of the Jury: Monstruo Dios, Agustina San
Queer Palm (Feature): Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Céline Sciamma
Queer Palm (Short): The Distance Between Us And The Sky, Vasilis Kekatos