Ulysses' Gaze – Dead Man – Shanghai Triad – La Haine – Safe – Ed Wood – The White Balloon

Cannes Festivals by Year:
Prizes, Juries, Favorites

Other Fests: Venice / Chicago

Stay tuned for more yearly indexes! 

Browse Films by
Title / Year / Reviews

Nick's Flick Picks
Home / Blog / E-Mail

Jurors: Jeanne Moreau (president), Gianni Amelio, Jean-Claude Brialy, Emilio Garcia Riera, Nadine Gordimer, Gaston Kaboré, Michèle Ray Gavras, Philippe Rousselot, John Waters, Maria Zvereva

Read about my 20th-anniversary return to this year's program, and my partners in crime.
Day 1Day 2Day 3Day 4Day 5Day 6Day 7Day 8Day 9Day 10Day 11 • Day 12
Roundtable #1 (Days 1-5) • Roundtable #2 (Days 6-8) • Roundtable #3 (Days 9-12) • Our Awards

Palme d'Or:Underground, Serbia/France/Germany, dir. Emir Kusturica
Grand Jury Prize:Ulysses' Gaze, Greece, dir. Theo Angelopoulos
Jury Prize:Don't Forget You're Going to Die, France, dir. Xavier Beauvois
Best Director:La Haine, Mathieu Kassovitz
Best Actress:The Madness of King George, Helen Mirren
Best Actor:Carrington, Jonathan Pryce
Special Jury Prize:Carrington, Christopher Hampton, writer/director
Technical Grand Prize:Shanghai Triad, Lu Yue, cintematography; Olivier Chiavassa, production supervisor; and Bruno Patin, color timer
    Critics Prize:
Land and Freedom, UK, dir. Ken Loach
Ulysses' Gaze, Greece, dir. Theo Angelopoulos
Prize of the Ecumenical Jury:Land and Freedom, UK, dir. Ken Loach
Caméra d'Or (first feature):The White Balloon, Iran, Jafar Panahi

Competition Films I Have Seen:
Ranked in order of preference
Since I systematically revisited this year's programmed films in cahoots with fellow critics, I've included links to their write-ups as well.
My Palme d'or
Underground (Serbia/France/Germany, dir. Emir Kusturica) - Lusty, impressively panoramic-surrealist view of Yugoslavian chaos as total war, eternal return, perverse metatheatre.
(Amir's capsule) (Ivan's review) (Tim B.'s review)

Nasty Love (Italy, dir. Mario Martone) - A Volver I can get behind, as middle-aged woman probes circumstances of mother's murder. Haunting, perverse, and witty.
(Amir's capsule) (Ivan's review) (Tim B.'s review)

Good Men, Good Women (Taiwan/Japan, dir. Hou Hsiao-hsien) - Solemn grandeur of Angelopoulos meets tricksy structure of Egoyan, though tempo, theme are inimitably Hou's.
(Amir's capsule) (Ivan's review) (Tim B.'s review)

The Neon Bible (UK/USA, dir. Terence Davies) - Mannerisms can get the best of it, but nobody animates and deoxygenates memories at the same time like Davies does.
(Amir's capsule) (Ivan's review) (Tim B.'s review)

Ed Wood (USA, dir. Tim Burton) - Perfectly suits Burton's oddball empathy while passing off stylistic limits as homage. Very sweet if hardly without flaws.
(Amir's capsule) (Ivan's review) (Tim B.'s review)

Ulysses' Gaze (Greece, dir. Theo Angelopoulos) - Labored devices, awkward clashes of idiom, but admirably earnest. Heaven is made of Angelopoulos camera movements.
(Amir's capsule) (Ivan's review) (Tim B.'s review)

Land and Freedom (UK, dir. Ken Loach) - Some Loach tropes overplayed, but potent. Mid-film debate over collectivizing land as galvanizing as a car chase.
(Alex's response) (Amir's capsule) (Ivan's review) (Tim B.'s review)

Sharaku (Japan, dir. Masahiro Shinoda) - Tenaciously rooted in Japanese culture, but as an outsider I savored its curious pleasures. Like Imamura doing Mr. Turner.
(Amir's capsule) (Ivan's review) (Tim B.'s review)

Carrington (UK, dir. Christopher Hampton) - Not every dot in script connects; Hampton maybe not a natural cineaste. But sex and starch converge in interesting ways.
(Alex's response) (Amir's capsule) (Ivan's review) (Tim B.'s review)

Shanghai Triad (China, dir. Zhang Yimou) - Full potential isn't reached; boy's perspective unilluminating. Voluptuous exercise, though, with a Warner Bros end.
(Amir's capsule) (Ivan's review) (Tim B.'s review)

Dead Man (USA, dir. Jim Jarmusch) - At times a laudably eccentric work of imagination I just don't respond to. At times a revel in affectation I flat dislike.
(Amir's capsule) (Ivan's review) (Tim B.'s review)

La Haine (France, dir. Mathieu Kassovitz) - Film-school showiness in image, sound, acting, and structure, which isn't to deny its moments of power in all those areas.
(Amir's capsule) (Ivan's review) (Tim B.'s review)

Don't Forget You're Going to Die (France, dir. Xavier Beauvois) - Easy to underestimate ambition of realist drama in this mold. Ideas worthy but need more shaping.
(Amir's capsule) (Ivan's review) (Tim B.'s review)

Angels and Insects (UK, dir. Philip Haas) - Hammers home some familiar theses about aristocratic perversion but view of family wealth is memorably gangrenous.
(Alex's response) (Amir's capsule) (Ivan's review) (Tim B.'s review)

The City of Lost Children (France, dirs. Jean-Pierre Jeunet & Marc Caro) - Like Terry Gilliam making a live-action Ghibli film, with a rather heavy spirit. Ingenious but ponderous.
(my full review) (Alex's response) (Amir's capsule) (Ivan's review) (Tim B.'s review)

The Convent (Portugal, dir. Manoel de Oliveira) - Both interesting and limited as a sinister meditation on people as forms and concepts. Entombed in its own discourses?
(Amir's capsule) (Ivan's review) (Tim B.'s review)

Kids (USA, dir. Larry Clark) - One hesitates to say it's as prurient as it possibly could be, which just baits Larry Clark. Nearly as dull as possible, too.
(Alex's response) (Amir's capsule) (Ivan's review) (Tim B.'s review)

The Madness of King George (UK, dir. Nicholas Hytner) - Lacks a clear point of view on the historical episode. Schticky in tone; handsome but familiar in style.
(Amir's capsule) (Ivan's review) (Tim B.'s review)

Jefferson in Paris (USA/UK, dir. James Ivory) - Aims for historical density but feels drily diffuse. Can't find tone or vantage on long-postponed Hemings plot.
(Amir's capsule) (Ivan's review) (Tim B.'s review)

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (Belgium, dir. Marion Hänsel) - Gentle, seaborne communion between adult and kid commits neither to realism nor sentiment.
(Amir's capsule) (Ivan's review) (Tim B.'s review)

Beyond Rangoon (USA, dir. John Boorman) - Egregious first hour, even more in slipshod execution than Eurocentric conception. Improves, if only by comparison.
(Amir's capsule) (Ivan's review) (Tim B.'s review)

Sidebar Selections I Have Seen:
Ranked in order of preference
Safe (Directors' Fortnight: USA, dir. Todd Haynes) - Impeccable images, soundtrack, structure, and performance convey unsettling theses about a woman, a region, and a whole world.
(Tim B.'s review)

Georgia (Un Certain Regard: USA, dir. Ulu Grosbard) - Everything works: incisive script, Washington milieu, musical performances. But four lead actors really carry it to glory.
(my Favorites tribute) (Ivan's review) (Tim B.'s review)

L'Enfant noir (Directors' Fortnight: France/Guinea, dir. Laurent Chevallier) - Honors and updates seminal novel, preserving complex tugs toward city and village, childhood and maturity. Gorgeous.

The White Balloon (Directors' Fortnight: Iran, dir. Jafar Panahi) - Simple, tender storytelling reveals careful facets; like the goldfish, it dances while seeming to stay in place.
(Amir's capsule) (Ivan's review)

The Arsonist (Un Certain Regard: Malaysia, dir. U-Wei Haji Saari) - Faulkner thrives in Malaysia! Land as mindspace, race as turf war, class as tribunal: all there. Brute, vivid object.
(Tim B.'s review)

Haramuya (Un Certain Regard: Burkina Faso, dir. Drissa Touré) - Not extraordinarily distinguished in any one area but a social portrait of Ouagadougou both affable and gently cautionary.

Hello, Cinema (Un Certain Regard: Iran, dir. Mohsen Makhmalbaf) - Memorable if relentless exercise of Makhmalbaf's abiding curiosity about images, personas, ontology. Wowzer opening.
(Amir's full review) (Ivan's review) (Tim B.'s review)

Bye-Bye (Un Certain Regard: France, dir. Karim Dridi) - Tension in the French metropole, evoked with more flash and greater tactility than in La Haine. Solid exercise. Abrupt end.

Heavy (Directors' Fortnight: USA, dir. James Mangold) - More convincing local color than indies in this vein often conjure. Tender but not soft. So well-played, especially by Vince.

Le Confessionnal (Directors' Fortnight: Canada, dir. Robert Lepage) - You'd call it Egoyanesque even if it weren't Canadian: heightened framing, arch tone, perverse and intricate plot.

The Tale of the Three Jewels (Directors' Fortnight: Palestine/Belgium, dir. Michel Khleifi) - Overtly propagandistic beats but gradually effects a rare, curious mix of the dogmatic and the dreamy.

Shadows of the Rainbow (Un Certain Regard: India, dir. Susant Misra) - Slow, occasionally even sluggish, but its patience becomes a virtue. Mature studies of region and character.
(Tim B.'s review)

Mute Witness (Critics' Week: UK/Germany/Russia, dir. Anthony Waller) - Sort of Siberian Sound Studio: a lurid thriller with wit, craft, and a clever conceit. Even functional passages click.

To Die For (Out of Competition: USA, dir. Gus Van Sant) - Claws-out verve, albeit prone to hokiness and overstatement. Same true of Kidman. Folland, Phoenix, costumes are peaks.
(Tim B.'s review)

Madagascar Skin (Critics' Week: UK, dir. Chris Newby) - Defiantly odd scenario and aesthetic; think Jane Campion's Sweetie remade as gay Working Title dramedy. Appealing.

Desperado (Out of Competition: USA, dir. Robert Rodriguez) - No prizes for taste, innovation, but might cop some for charm, movement, verve. Rodriguez's touch rarely so light since.

Rude (Un Certain Regard: Canada, dir. Clement Virgo) - Eventually outstays its welcome, and never balances three main threads. Still, bold gestures here in sound, color, and mood.
(Tim B.'s review)

An Awfully Big Adventure (Directors' Fortnight: UK, dir. Mike Newell) - Not always sure how to merge coming-of-age, sexual danger, backstage farce, Peter Pan. At least it tries?

Lisbon Story (Un Certain Regard: Germany/Portugal, dir. Wim Wenders) - A favor to Lisbon's tourism bureau. A tender elegy to Wenders' pal Federico. Also a movie, but that's third priority.
(Tim B.'s review)

Unstrung Heroes (Un Certain Regard: USA, dir. Diane Keaton) - Too much polish or not enough? Aura of the quirky collectible: a limit but also a source of appeal. Moving finish.
(Tim B.'s review)

Augustin (Un Certain Regard: France, dir. Anne Fontaine) - Short for a feature, long for an SNL audition. You sort of want more of this stuttering thespian, but you sort of don't.

The Usual Suspects (Out of Competition: USA, dir. Bryan Singer) - Neat structure but the mystery isn't hard to crack. Worse, I never sense it matters. Spacey not too convincing.
(Tim B.'s review)

Kiss of Death (Out of Competition: USA, dir. Barbet Schroeder) - NYC crime thriller oddly lit and styled like Wild Things-level Florida noir. Needs more grit or more Cagey coloring.

Canadian Bacon (Un Certain Regard: USA, dir. Michael Moore) - More than diverting, less than entertaining. Smells like the joke-writers' room. Wexler gets it looking all right.

Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead (Un Certain Regard: USA, dir. Gary Fleder) - Strenuous. Was ever a script so proud of itself? As ever, Garcia cannot get us on his side.
(Tim B.'s review)

Soul Survivor (Critics' Week: Canada, dir. Stephen Williams) - Jamaican-Canadian drama exhibits more conviction than craft, not always choosing most interesting relations to probe.
(my full review)

Under the Domim Tree (Un Certain Regard: Israel, dir. Eli Cohen) - Occasionally conjures the complex affects of Holocaust orphans praying for miracles. Often settles for chintz.

The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain (Un Certain Regard: UK, dir. Christopher Monger) - A movie that went up a molehill and mustered about one-third of a monty.

Someone Else's America (Directors' Fortnight: Serbia/Germany/Greece/UK/France, dir. Goran Paskaljević) - Starts as woefully ersatz US-Spanish-Serbian melting-pot comedy (sic). Gets more serious, but still ersatz.

Denise Calls Up (Critics' Week: USA, dir. Hal Salwen) - Maladroit, instantly dated ...comedy? About how, like, we're all growing disconnected? Purgatory of talky closeups.

3 Steps to Heaven (Directors' Fortnight: UK, dir. Constantine Giannaris) - Fiasco resulting from idiosyncratic experimental and short-form director forcing his style into addled narrative.
(Tim B.'s review)

What's Coming Next
May 28 The Quick and the Dead (Out of Competition: USA, dir. Sam Raimi)

Films in the Main Competition:
Ranked in order of interest; more on this year's lineup here (opens in a new window)
Waati, Mali, dir. Souleymane Cissé
The Senator of Snails, Romania, dir. Mircea Daneliuc
Stories from the Kronen, Spain, dir. Montxo Armendáriz

Sidebar Films I'm Curious to See:
Listed alphabetically; click names of sidebars for more titles (in a new window)
Un Certain Regard: The Monkey Kid, China, dir. Wang Xiao-yen
Directors' Fortnight: Café Society, USA, dir. Raymond De Felitta
Eggs, Norway, dir. Bent Hamer
Eldorado, Canada, dir. Charles Binamé
The Moor's Head, Austria, dir. Paulus Manker
Critics' Week: The Daughter-in-Law, Taiwan, dir. Steve Wang

Trackbacks: Permalink Cannes Page 1995 Home Blog E-Mail