Cannes 2018 Highlights

Cannes came and went, and under no circumstances could we miss the opportunity of talking about it for a bit. As opposed to the big three of Golden Globes, BAFTAs and Academy Awards, who are all aimed at a primarily mainstream audience and usually offer all expect one awards to productions spoken in English, the Cannes Film Festival is a bit more niche-oriented, and the awarded projects are usually more refined, daring and often controversial. Not to mention that the winning entry is almost always from a different country. Let’s go through some of this year’s highlights.

Palme d’Or: Shoplifters (Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japan)

This year’s grand winner moves from Sweden all the way to Japan, and director Hirokazu Kore-eda, who had previously been nominated for other awards at Cannes, he finally got the recognition he deserved with his 18th film. The project is set in a poor neighborhood of Tokyo, where a family has to ensure its day-to-day survival by resorting to shoplifting. The official release in Japan happened only a few days ago, on 8 June 2018.

Un Certain Regard: Border (Ali Abbasi, Sweden)

This category awards daring, nontraditional and unorthodox filmmaking – the jury is different from that which is organised for the main competition, and it heavily values creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. This year’s winner was Border, a Swedish psychological thriller with a fantasy twist. The less we spoil about the plot, the better – so just go watch it when you have the chance!

Best Director: Cold War (Paweł Pawlikowski, Poland)

A story loosely inspired by the lives of the director’s parents, Cold War is a love story that unfolds on the backdrop of the Cold War of last century, capturing snapshots of society from Poland, Yugoslavia, Berlin and Paris. While the title is perhaps not the most inspired, sharing it with countless other productions, the film is intriguing and beautifully shot – a well-deserved recognition for Pawlikowski.

Lars von Trier is back

Cannes Festival connoisseurs will perhaps remember the Danish master’s last appearance in a Cannes press conference 6 years ago – certainly an amusing and equally startling appearance. Suffice to say, von Trier’s tirade about his admiration for a certain 20th century Austrian dictator resulted in a ban from the festival. Six years later, he was back and screened his newest film, The House that Jack Built, which registered quite a few walkouts during the showing, but also a six-minute standing ovation after the credits rolled.

Netflix controversy

This is such a complex topic with deep ramifications to the future of the film industry that it perhaps deserves an article on its own – it will happen in the near future. For now, the short story: Cannes views cinema as a theatrical experience, and Netflix is perhaps the biggest opponent of such an idea, with their business model based on home streaming. This year, the French festival required all the participants in its competitions to screen their films in French theatres – Netflix declined, and pulled out all its entries from both competitions and normal screenings. We’re very curious what next year has in store in this saga.



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