CANNES: The favorites, and the others … Here are the strengths and weaknesses of the films in the competition for the Palme d’Or at the 75th Cannes Film Festival, which will be awarded on Saturday.
“Decision to leave” by Park Chan-wook
It’s a critic’s favorite: Three years after the Golden Palm for Bong Joon’s “Parasite,” Park Chan-wook was able to bring another trophy to South Korea with this virtuoso thriller about an inspector who falls in love with a suspect, reminiscent of “Basic Instic.” less sex and ice lolly. Flat, plot too complex.
Future Crimes by David Cronenberg
Deep or smoky? The return of the Pope of Gore, with his favorite actresses Viggo Mortensen and Léa Seydoux, immersed in a post-apocalyptic world of experiments in raw surgery, is “pschitt”. In a twilight atmosphere, Cronenberg pushes his obsession with the body and its guts longer than ever before.
Armageddon Time by James Gray
James Gray more autobiographical than ever with this youth chronicle carried by Anne Hathaway, Jeremy Strong and Anthony Hopkins, located in the heart of New York in the 1980s. After “Ad Astra”, the American director returns to Earth, but loses a bit of its epic breath as it passes.
“Without filter” by Ruben Østlund
La Palme de l’humor: The Swede made the Croisette explode with laughter with “Sans Filtre”, a punk cross between “Titanic” and “La Grande Bouffe” and acid satire by the ultra-rich. But five years after the Palme d’Or for “The Square” (2017), does the Swede not repeat himself?
“Hi-Han” (EO), by Jerzy Skolimowski
The human species seen by a donkey … The eight-year-old director signs one of the most daring films, and slips into the skin of a wandering four-legged friend from city to city. Spectacular photography, sometimes hallucinogenic, magnifies this feature film, whose scenario is unfortunately blurred at the end.
“Nights of Mashhad” by Ali Abbasi
The Dane of Iranian origin shows Iran in a way never seen before in this thriller about a murderer of prostitutes who, in the name of God, “cleanses” the slums of one of the holiest cities in the Islamic Republic. The topic is strong, but the frontal staging of the violence will deter some people.
“The Lucky Stars” by Hirokazu Kore-eda
The Japanese man breaks hearts with this trip together with a family consisting of odds and ends, around a baby box story. Following on from his Palme d’Or for “A Family Affair” (2018), the big regular on the Croisette is touring South Korea and possibly offering an interpretive award to the star of “Parasite”, Song Kang-ho or K-Pop star Lee Ji-eun as IU, who plays the mother.
“Tchaikovsky’s Wife” by Kirill Serebrennikov
More classic than “Petrov’s Fever” is “Tchaikovsky’s Wife”, returning to homosexuality and the composer’s long-lived wife, carried by a romantic breath and a brilliant performance. Russian actress Alyona Mikhailova delivers a glowing performance and is the favorite for an interpretation award.
“The Almond Trees” by Valeria Bruni Tedeschi
The seventh production of the French-Italian actress Valeria Bruni Tedeschi looks back on her apprenticeship when she was a student at Amandier’s school and theater in Nanterre with Patrice Chéreau. A story set against the backdrop of the AIDS epidemic of the late 1980s.
“Boy from Heaven” by Tarik Saleh
A dive into Sunni Islam reminiscent of the “name of the rose”. Five years after “Confidential Cairo”, the 50-year-old Swedish filmmaker, born of an Egyptian father, is back with a thriller showing the workings of political and religious power.
“Tori and Lokita” by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne
On the way to a third Palme d’Or? The veterans of social cinema surprised no one with “Tori and Lokita”, in the form of a prayer for children in exile. A committed drama, but a bit predictable from the Belgian brothers with a 35-year career.
Nostalgia by Mario Martone
After the solar energy of Naples in Sorrentino (“Hand of God”), here is the story of Mario Martone, with a story of friendship and a return to the homeland, in the shadow of the mafia. Actor Pierfrancesco Favino (“The Traitor”) buys a ticket to an interpretation prize with the role of a man from his past.
“Stars at Noon” by Claire Denis
La Française features an atmospheric thriller about an American journalist stranded in Nicaragua. Claire Denis shoots in English without worrying about the consistency of the script or the quality of the dialogues. That we can forget to enjoy the soundtrack to Tindersticks.
“Close” by Lukas Dhont
“Close” confirms Belgian Lukas Dhont’s talent for filming adolescence, but on a subject, friendship and goodbye to childhood, less strong than “Girl”, on a trans teenager. On the interpretation side, a 15-year-old young actor, Eden Dambrine, buys a ticket at a price with this heartbreaking role as a boy who has been hurt by a lost friendship.
“Brother and Sister” by Arnaud Desplechin
Desplechin failed to make love with this drama about hatred: a disappointing opus with a hysterical form of a brother (Melvil Poupaud) and a sister (Marion Cotillard) in protracted conflict, reunited after the death of their parents.
NMR by Cristian Mungiu
A village in Transylvania as an explosive laboratory for populism: The Romanian, more pessimistic than ever, wants with “RMN” to open the eyes of Europeans to this evil that gnaws at them. But the step may be high for yet another Palme d’Or after “4 months, 3 weeks, 2 days”.
“Leila’s Brothers” by Saeed Roustaee
He had impressed with a powerful film about drugs in Iran: For the first time in the competition in Cannes, Saeed Roustaee signs with “Leïla’s brothers” an ambitious family fresco in light of the economic crisis in the land of the mullahs.
“Peace” by Albert Serra
An atmospheric film driven solely by Benoît Magimel’s freewheeling performance as High Commissioner of the Republic of Tahiti. The Spaniard has fired 580 hours of hustle and thousands of pages of dialogue, but does he really know where he is going?
“The Eight Mountains” by Charlotte Vandermeersch and Felix Van Groeningen
This protracted “bromance” between two Italian boys, from childhood to adulthood, mixes alpine landscape poetry and questions of fatherhood. On the way to the peaks, this film was shot when a couple of two Flemings left some of the festival guests on the side of the road.
“Showing Up” by Kelly Reichardt
A major figure in independent cinema, the American with a minimalist style (“First Cow”) finds one of her favorite actresses, Michelle Williams, who plays Lizzy, a visual artist who is stressed before the opening. A few days before her show, she has to solve household problems at home, help a depressed brother and care for an injured pigeon.
“A Little Brother” by Léonor Serraille
Léonor Serraille, spotted in 2017 with “Jeune femme”, tells the story of an Ivorian family who arrived in France in the late 1980s and settled in the suburbs of Paris. The film will be shown Friday night.