What are the best films out of this year's Cannes Film Festival? Which ones should you be taking an interest in? What films should be a priority for you to see? After 12 days at the 74th Cannes Film Festival, after 30 screenings, it's time to present my 2021 list of my Top 10 Favorite Films. This was my 11th year back to this festival, and I love being there in the middle of the buzz, seeing films all day every day non-stop. These ten listed below are the ones that connected with me emotionally or intellectually, and I hope you'll consider watching a few when they arrive in your neighborhood. They are worth the wait. Even after cancelling the fest last year due to the pandemic, there were many impressive films in Cannes this year. I'm glad I could be there and catch up with cinema again. This is my final recap of Cannes 2021 - don't miss any of these below.
Part 2 with all the rest! "Do you think I'm possessed?" With the 2021 Cannes Film Festival wrapped up, it's time to look back and highlight many of the films that premiered at the festival this summer. Below is a collection of trailers currently out for films that premiered at this prestigious festival - including Drive My Car, punk Palme d'or winner Titane, Memoria, The French Dispatch, Hit the Road, Nitram, Petrov's Flu, Benedetta, and plenty of others. The marketing teams have been releasing teaser trailers for almost every major film that shows, trying to build some buzz with audiences not at the festival while the film is showing at the festival. We've already posted many of these trailers before, but this final post features everything available now at the end of the festival - 44 trailers in total (within Part 1 + Part 2) to enjoy here.
"Extraordinary accusations require extraordinary proof." With the 2021 Cannes Film Festival wrapped up, it's time to look back and highlight many of the films that premiered at the festival this summer. Below is a collection of trailers currently out for films that premiered at this prestigious festival - including Drive My Car, punk Palme d'or winner Titane, Memoria, The French Dispatch, Hit the Road, Nitram, Petrov's Flu, Benedetta, and plenty of others. The marketing teams have been releasing teaser trailers for almost every major film that shows, trying to build some buzz with audiences not at the festival while the film is showing at the festival. We've already posted many of these trailers before, but this final post features everything available now at the end of the festival - 44 trailers in total (within Part 1 + Part 2) to enjoy here.
"Cinema is not dead," proclaimed Thierry Frémaux during the announcement of the official selection for the 2021 Cannes Film Festival a few months ago. He was right, of course, but we already knew that. Cinema will never die! It just took a little break during the 2020 pandemic year, with cinemas closed worldwide. But filmmakers were still working on films - finishing up post-production from their homes, or even filming new projects when they were finally allowed to resume production (with masks required along with extensive safety protocols). Aside from the 2020 Venice Film Festival held last September, which still took place in-person despite no vaccines available yet, the 2021 Cannes Film Festival is technically the second major film festival to resume "normal operation" following years of shut downs and pandemic restrictions worldwide. They wanted to get back to how it used to be, with 100% full cinemas, and thankfully nothing bad happened.
Victory for Titane!! Winners of the 2021 Cannes Film Festival awards, including the coveted Palme d'Or, were revealed at a glamorous ceremony in Cannes, France this weekend. The big winner this year is all out punk French film Titane, directed by filmmaker Julia Ducournau, her second feature film after breaking into the scene with Raw a few years ago. She is the second female filmmaker to EVER win the Palme d'or in the festivals 74 year history, and the first female director to ever win entirely on her own. (Jane Campion won the Palme d'Or in 1993 for The Piano, but that was a tie win with Farewell My Concubine that year.) Every other excellent film seemed to pick up an award, all the winners were expected picks. Including the Best Actress choice - Norwegian actress Renate Reinsve in one of my favorites of the fest, a love story film called The Worst Person in the World (read my review). All the major Cannes 2021 winners are listed below.
This is one story that isn't worth telling. The Story of My Wife (also known as A Feleségem Története in Hungarian) is the first English language film made by the acclaimed, award-winning Hungarian filmmaker Ildikó Enyedi. She's a wonderfully talented filmmaker and usually knows how to craft nuanced, powerfully moving stories about love and life, but not this time. I really wish this was better… I had high hopes for it. But it's such a let down. The Story of My Wife is a gorgeous-looking epic three hour romance about a sea captain and his French wife. Alas, the slow-burn rage of jealousy is drawn out over two hours and it drags on and on. And with a runtime just 10 minutes shy of three hours, it's a powerfully tedious affair, a story that goes on and on without ever becoming interesting or worthwhile. Right from the start I could tell these two lovers didn't have any chemistry, and it's almost painful to watch their romance flounder over 169 minutes.
It's not easy to make a good film. It's also not easy to make a good film about the filmmaking process. But many filmmakers have tried, and a few do succeed. Nowadays, many filmmakers like to reminisce about the past and dream about making films as unforgettable as their cinema heroes - Scorsese, Welles, Fellini, Lean, Hitchcock, Kubrick, Varda, Buñuel, Bergman. But how do you go about letting yourself be inspired by these filmmakers in just the right way to make a film that is also as iconic and unforgettable as their films? That's one of the questions are the core of this film – Bergman Island, the latest feature written & directed by French filmmaker Mia Hansen-Løve. She takes us on a light and breezy stroll around the island of Fårö, located off the coast of Sweden to the south of Stockholm, better known as "Bergman Island" because he spent lots of time living there and even shot a few of his films there. What can a visit to this island teach us?
Often the most engaging, thought-provoking stories in cinema are those with complex characters and moral provocations. They don't offer black and white interpretations, they make us question whether our prejudice is tainting our opinion on what's happening, and allow us to learn even more about the incessant complexity of humanity. Acclaimed Iranian director Asghar Farhadi has returned to the 2021 Cannes Film Festival with his latest film, a drama called A Hero (originally Ghahreman in Persian) set in modern day Shiraz. This is his best film since A Separation, a return to form for Asghar Farhadi telling incredibly taut, thrilling stories about morality tales and characters trying their best in a world that won't let them succeed. I loved it and was caught up in it and was so shaken by the film that it messed up my emotions for the rest of the day.
THIS is the film every critic was waiting to finally see at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival. Something so bold and audacious and original and incredible and energetic that we all erupt into applause as soon as it's over. Titane is the second feature film made by French filmmaker Julia Ducournau, who made her debut with the horror hit Raw back in 2016. She returns to the Cannes Film Festival again to premiere her latest film, Titane, and it fucking rules. Absolute metal. File this one under "you have never seen anything like this" - wickedly original, jaw-drop cinema. Not at all what you're expecting, not what anyone is expecting. Which is the best kind of film to enjoy at a festival. Titane is an extremely brutal, audacious, vivacious take on bad fathers. Which is the simplest description that does not come close to properly capturing everything in this.
One of the best films at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival is a Norwegian romantic drama about a young woman on the verge of turning 30. It's a refreshingly intellectual and mesmerizing look at romance and love in our modern world, and all the remarkably empowering and frustrating challenges that come with it. The film is titled (in English) The Worst Person in the World, and the original Norwegian title is Verdens Verste Menneske, though the French title is Julie (en 12 Chapitres) or simply Julie (in 12 Chapters) - which is somewhat better than the English version. But none of these titles really do it justice, nor do they really fit with this film overall, nor capture how beautiful and excruciating and understanding and exhilarating it really is. But aside from that, there's so much to adore about this film and the depths of romance it explores, diving in so deep it may just make you question your own choices and who you're with in life with right now.
Oh my goodness, this is an instant personal favorite. No exaggeration, this goes on my "all-timer" list right away. I want to watch it again right now. I want the posters, I want frames of the film on my wall, I want to listen to the score non-stop, I want to buy copies of the graphic novel it's based on. It has everything I love, everything that amazes me about this world: photography, mountains, Nepal, the Himalayas, Japan, Tokyo, the starry night sky. The Summit of the Gods (also known as Le Sommet des Dieux) is a French animated film made by animation filmmaker Patrick Imbert, based on the Japanese manga also titled The Summit of the Gods written by Jiro Taniguchi. It tells a riveting story about a Japanese adventure photographer and mountain climber who becomes obsessed with searching for a long lost Japanese mountain climber hiding out in the Himalayas who may have found a camera from an early Everest expedition. An engrossing story.
"I've wanted to tell a story about acting for a very long time… About the place where you end, and the character begins. About truth… and illusion." How do you put together an entire life into one film? How do you tell that story and make it meaningful? Val is a documentary about the actor Val Kilmer, made by Val and his son Jack Kilmer, and co-directed by Ting Poo & Leo Scott. After an extensive acting career, Val went quiet. Now we know that has spent the last few years fighting and then recovering from throat cancer, but is now left with a hole in his throat and a completely different voice due to the chemotherapy. So, as he says in the film, "now that it's more difficult to speak, I want to tell my story more than ever. A story about my life." And that's exactly what we get. Val is wonderfully candid journey through the life of an actor. It's so rich and so full of love, and so profoundly honest. One of the very best films at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival so far.