The six best films of the Cannes Film Festival 2022
(Photo by Joe Maher/Getty Images)
The 75th edition of the Cannes Film Festival is over and we’re officially off to the races for the 2022-2023 awards season. This year, the festival celebrated its 75th anniversary and awarded stars Forrest Whitaker, Javier Bardem and man of the moment Tom Cruise an Honorary Palme d’Or, but it was Swedish director Ruben Ostlund triangle of sadness which won the official top prize, making it the third Palme d’Or for independent producer Tom Quinn and Neon and the second for Östlund, who won in 2017 for The place.
Top Gun: Maverick and the new Elvis Baz Lurhmann’s biopic were the festival’s standout titles, and after sampling the lineup, we found a few films that surprised and sadly more than a few that disappointed. Claire Denis’ The stars at noon won the Grand Prix prize and the latest efforts from George Miller, Ethan Coen and James Gray have all been well received, but we fear most if not all will fade after the Cannes bubble burst.
Looking at this year’s lineup, we could see a clear preference among festival programmers to find films that reflect our dark and increasingly polarized socio-political climate. It’s not the first Cannes festival to bow under the shadow of war and political unrest, but Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, our climate crisis and the likelihood of an economic recession have stained to just about every film shown. However, apart from all the gloom, the overall sentiment was more of an affirmation, as the legendary festival seemed to spout the refrain “The cinema is back!”
This feeling was more commercial with Elvis, Superior gunand the highly marketable triangle of sadness and The stars at noon among the winners, but only a handful of entries will be significant players in the ’22-’23 awards season. Although he won his second Palme d’Or in just 3 years, Östlund still has a long way to go to equal the Palme d’Or and Bong Joon-ho’s Best Picture award. Parasite. He’s more likely to go the Julia Ducournau route Titanium, which was the toast of Cannes and won the Palme d’Or last year but fizzled with audiences. For the final verdict on this, we’ll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, read on for our picks for the six best films we saw at the Cannes Film Festival.
Most international audiences have learned Vicky Krieps of her work as an ingenue turned femme fatale in Paul Thomas Anderson ghost yarn, a stunning debut that brought her worldwide recognition and led her to star with directors M. Night Shyamalan, Mia Hansen-Løve and Barry Levinson, among others. This year, she returns to Cannes with Bodice, a historical fiction about Empress Elisabeth Amalie Eugénie, arguably the most famous woman of her time. The empress, who secured the Prussian empire with her marriage to Franz Joseph I, was a constant source of fame, fashion and controversy during her lifetime, and the film follows her around 20 years after she was crowned queen. consort. At 40, Empress Elizabeth, once idolized for her beauty and renowned for inspiring fashion trends, finds herself increasingly outdated and isolated. Her son is about to take over the empire, and her husband, who once adored her as the savior of his empire, is now more often shamed and exhausted by her eccentric ways. Krieps’ performance is evenly matched Marie Antoinette and Gena Rowlands in A woman under the influence, and it earned him the Un Certain Regard prize for best performance; with any luck, she could ride that win for a Leading Actress Oscar nomination.
If the whispers from the Palace – and the presence of ties in the final prizes – are any indication, the jury’s deliberation has been mildly contentious this year. The jury, made up of President Vincent Lindon, Jeff Nichols, Asghar Farhadi, Rebecca Hall and Noomi Rapace, however managed to agree on the Palme d’Or, selecting that of Ruben Östlund triangle of sadness. The sprawling modern fable about rights and power dynamics is our pick for Best of the Festival and a dark horse pick for the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. The film follows a group of privileged guests aboard a luxury yacht who have their entire social status shaken when they are shipwrecked and only the housekeeper is equipped to survive their dire situation. triangle of sadness didn’t enjoy a rave critical response, but it was still one of the most talked about films of the festival. Of all the entries here, it has the best chance of internet fame, given the absurd take on current global issues and the virality of the concept – and we mean viral in both the digital and digestive sense. Harris Dickinson (which we had marked as one to watch since its turn in beach rats), Woody Harrelsonand Charlbi Dean Kriek should all see well-deserved global recognition for their efforts here, but character actress Dolly De Leon is the name we want everyone to take note of as she has soared to the top of our early predictions for the actress. Support.
NMR was the most surprising film of the festival, with its delicate and quiet radiance. This film, as well as the winners HEY and holy spiderall of them are likely to be national selections and possible Oscar nominees, but in this group we distinguish NMR as an exceptional film. A sleepy and deeply xenophobic Romanian village serves as a flashpoint for Europe’s globalization crisis. A local bakery desperate for income and labor is using EU funds to stay in business, and in return has to hire foreign workers. City dwellers who have long dismissed bakery jobs as undesirable/poorly paid work are suddenly outraged that foreign hands are involved in the production of their local bread. NMR highlights the problems of sudden immigration and transit employment, and the grim truth of what the townspeople have lured with their bigotry is left as a haunting echo in the final frames of the story. It’s the one you should see when it releases later this year.
When Hirokazu Kore-eda decided to launch his latest feature film, his main motivation was to launch the South Korean mega-star Song Kang-ho and reteam with her dollhouse star Bae Doona. Broker, a comedy-drama about Korean “baby brokers” who kidnap abandoned babies to sell them to unsuspecting, childless couples, is another hilarious take on a hot political issue. The Asian baby trade, which has been upended by the global pandemic, has come under intense scrutiny in recent years, with many questioning the morality of these programs that allow any couple – with the right amount of money — the possibility of buying a child. The offshoots of this industry send ripple effects throughout Asia, and Kore-eda denounces and laments the realities of the industry with incredible cinematic effect. Just like its Palme d’Or winner Shoplifters, Kore-eda mixes comedy and tragedy and celebrates the dark joy of reunited families. Securing Song Kang-ho his first major solo acting award outside of Korea could also signal his return to Oscar night, this time with a solo name.
If you liked the procedural aspect of Park Chan-wook’s Old boy or the great novel of The servantyou will find a house with his last, Decision to leave, a return to its thriller/romance roots. Park has explored complicated relationship dilemmas since her feature debut in 1992 The moon is… the dream of the sunand Decision to leave is again a thrilling romance versus an impossible choice that demands repeat viewing. Beneath its tense thriller trappings lies a quiet romance that will have you questioning motives and alliances at every narrative turn. A bloodless Park Chan-wook isn’t something many will rush to, but it was one of the top-rated features on our Cannes scoreboard, so don’t dismiss it even if you would have preferred a “revenge” type entry.
(Photo by Kinetic Marketing)
Lukas Dhont’the first movie of 2018 Daughter, turned out to be a successful albeit complicated start. The film, which won awards at Cannes, was later derided by critics from the LGBTQ community because its star was a straight man playing a trans woman and the themes were deemed insensitive. Despite this mixed reception, one thing everyone noticed was that the filmmaker had talent, and we were all eager to see what he did next. His next entry, closewas selected for the competition this time and won the Grand Jury Prize tied with the famous French director Claire Denis The stars at noon. The story follows Léo and Rémi, two 13-year-old boys who suddenly separate after a traumatic event. The film explores the loss of innocence and the dynamics of male friendships as childhood gives way to adolescence. It is loosely based on the book by psychologist Niobe Way deep secrets, which explores the intimacy of male teenagers. It seems like a legitimate threat to Best International Feature at the Oscars, so we’ll be keeping an eye out for it, especially for the Dhont-penned screenplay.
Thumbnail image by Neon