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The Best Films of the 2018 Cannes Film Festival

Written by on May 21, 2018 

Happy as Lazzaro (Alice Rohrwacher)

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The films of Alice Rohrwacher have always been rich with the sensory magic of growing up, but that atmosphere has, up to this point, been enhanced with the knowledge that puberty was approaching, just out of sight, with all the subtlety of a B52 bomber. With her newest, Lazarro Felice, she has largely forgone that period of adolescence, while somehow not forgoing that sense of everyday magic. What emerges is not simply a next step in her oeuvre and creative growth but a fully formed expression of her virtuosic talents. – Rory O. (full review)

The House That Jack Built (Lars von Trier)

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The Wikipedia entry for Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) describes the condition as “a long-term pattern of abnormal behavior characterized by exaggerated feelings of self-importance, an excessive need for admiration, and a lack of empathy.” If there were any doubts about Lars von Trier suffering from a chronic case of NPD (there weren’t), they will be conclusively dispelled by The House That Jack Built, an exceedingly violent and purposely unpalatable film that plays like an extended therapy session. – Giovanni M.C. (full review)

In My Room (Ulrich Köhler)

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At what point do vaguely-related surface movements form into something resembling a wave? The idea of a so-called “Berlin School” has been doing the rounds for quite a while. However, the creative output of that group of filmmakers in the last few years has been nothing short of astonishing. Christian Petzold led the way with Barbara (2012) and Phoenix (2014) but nothing could have prepared us for Maren Ade’s Toni Erdmann rocking Cannes or Valeska Grisebach’s Western doing the same last year. Petzold’s Transit divided audiences (we thought it was great) in Berlin in February and now we encounter this strange, intimate, little science-fiction film. – Rory O. (full review)

Under the Silver Lake (David Robert Mitchell)

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David Robert Mitchell is a nostalgic. His debut feature, The Myth of the American Sleepover, paid tribute to such teenage dramas as American Graffiti and the work of John Hughes. Its follow-up, the terrific It Follows, ranks amongst the smartest and most effective specimens in John Carpenter’s vast and variegated suburban horror legacy. Mitchell has now tried his hand at an L.A. noir with Under the Silver Lake, which owes as big a debt to The Long GoodbyeMulholland Drive, and Inherent Vice (to mention but three of the most conspicuous referents) as it does Thomas Pynchon’s labyrinthine, paranoia-laden narratives. – Giovanni M.C. (full review)

The Wild Pear Tree (Nuri Bilge Ceylan)

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Last week we saw a film from Pawel Pawlikowski that crossed continents and spanned decades and lasted a mere 84 minutes. With the exception of a devastating climax that skips a few years, the majority of The Wild Pear Tree takes place over just a few days. It is more than twice as long, and, I would wager, has ten times as many lines of dialogue. We are being rather flippant here (it’s been a long week), especially given the fact that the director, of course, is Nuri Bilge Ceylan, hardly a filmmaker known for his concision. He is, however, responsible for Once Upon a Time in Anatolia — a work that seems, as the years glance by, to be gaining the aura of a modern classic. He also made Winter Sleep, which was even longer. It also won the Palme d’Or. – Rory O. (full review)

The Rest

Wildlife (A-)
The Gentle Indifference of the World (B+)
Knife + Heart (B+)
3 Faces (B)
BlacKkKlansman (B)
Donbass (B)
The Image Book (B)
Long Day’s Journey Into Night (B)
Shoplifters (B)
Ten Years Thailand (B)
Thunder Road (B)
Asako I & II (B-)
Sorry Angel (B-)
Dogman (C+)
Everybody Knows (D)

Follow our complete Cannes 2018 coverage here.

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