Competition Films I Have Seen:
Ranked in order of preference
My Palme d'Or
Amour (Austria/Germany/France, dir. Michael Haneke) - Perfectly shot Book of the Dead, showcasing partners more bonded to each other than to their child. Impeccably acted and cut.
Holy Motors (France, dir. Leos Carax) - This shit is bananas, like Matthew Barney's lusty stab at Céline and Julie Go Boating. Melancholy undertow a surprise.
Paradise: Love (Austria, dir. Ulrich Seidl) - Pitiless camera, yes, but surprisingly rich in empathy and thought. Women keep teaching men how to be better liars.
In the Fog (Germany/Russia/Belarus, dir. Sergei Loznitsa) - Loznitsa steadily attains Sophoclean austerity, clarity, and power in sober drama of war's unwinnable moral quandaries.
Like Someone in Love (France/Japan/Iran, dir. Abbas Kiarostami) - Which kind of love? Shamed, seductive, fatherly, hourly, angry, humbleeach elliptically reflects the others.
Moonrise Kingdom (USA, dir. Wes Anderson) - Imbues a bit more longing in Anderson's human gamepieces. Lighting lends all the dollhousery warmth and dimension.
Rust and Bone (France, dir. Jacques Audiard) - Audiard's gifts at rhythm and texture, stylistically and psychologically, pay richer dividends than script or theme.
Reality (Italy, dir. Matteo Garrone) - Arena nails lead role; wayward speculation is an apt theme for today's Europe. Still, second hour is one long comet tail.
Lawless (USA, dir. John Hillcoat) - Sturdy, novelistic. Strong on sonic and visual textures. LaBeouf, Clarke well-used. Pearce, love plots, coda much shakier.
Beyond the Hills (Romania, dir. Cristian Mungiu) - Diamantine visuals. Waves of tension. But shots, story beats over-repeat; ideas run at a low ebb.
The Paperboy (USA, dir. Lee Daniels) - Merrily vulgar, yet humid with odd sincerity. Actors push their envelopes; characters sabotage their self-interests.
Killing Them Softly (USA, dir. Andrew Dominik) - Political, stylistic rhetoric dialed way up. Turgid valleys, hypnotic peaks. Prosaic baseline. Solid ensemble.
On the Road (USA/Brazil, dir. Walter Salles) - Prismatically shot and cut, but never feels multifaceted. Charismatically cast, but never fires the imagination. Fine.
Cosmopolis (Canada, dir. David Cronenberg) - Script bulk-buys prose from DeLillo; laudable stab collapses from the outset. Itchy acting, ugly digital, blunt themes.
Sidebar Selections I Have Seen:
Ranked in order of preference
Beasts of the Southern Wild (Un Certain Regard: USA, dir. Benh Zeitlin) - A Malick eye on a Morrison milieu. An ecstasy of apocalyptic time, molecules frizzing with bayou life.
Antiviral (Un Certain Regard: Canada, dir. Brandon Cronenberg) - Scenario smacks of Papa but aesthetic does not. Tensely mixed and lensed. Accrues layers, scares, and wit as it unfolds.
Children of Sarajevo (Un Certain Regard: Bosnia-Herzegovina, dir. Aida Begić) - One small step for Dardenne-style cinema, one potent leap in evoking Balkan women's complex social positioning
Mekong Hotel (Out of Competition: Thailand, dir. Apichatpong Weerasethakul) - Clearly minor, but Joe has a lovely feel for laconic bonhomie, even in the face of disaster. Or of cannibal ghosts.
The Repentant (Directors' Fortnight: Algeria/France, dir. Merzak Allouache) - Remorseful terrorist learns that good intentions don't open many paths in spare, slightly thin French-Algerian drama
Room 237 (Directors' Fortnight: USA, dir. Rodney Ascher) - Director puts nothing on the lineno context, no point of viewin serving unstructured slaw of very selective "readings."
Competition Films I'm Curious to See:
Ranked in order of interest; more on this year's lineup here (opens in a new window)
Post Tenebras Lux, Mexico, dir. Carlos Reygadas
After the Battle, Egypt, dir. Yousry Nasrallah
In Another Country, South Korea, dir. Hong Sang-soo
The Hunt, Denmark, dir. Thomas Vinterberg
The Angels' Share, UK, dir. Ken Loach
Mud, USA, dir. Jeff Nichols
You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet, France, dir. Alain Resnais
The Taste of Money, South Korea, dir. Im Sang-soo
Sidebar Films I'm Curious to See:
Listed alphabetically; more on this year's lineup here (opens in a new window)