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The Best of Cannes Film Festival 2013

Written by on May 28, 2013 

The 66th edition of the annual Cannes Film Festival proved to be another fantastic year for film. From the Coen brothers to Alejandro Jodorowsky, Nicolas Winding Refn to Roman Polanski there was never a shortage of compelling films to choose from. This has been my third year in a row attending the festival and each year is always an experience to cherish, with 2013 in particular having the most consistent number of quality films. We’ve rounded up a list of the top ten films from the fest that will trickle out in theaters over the coming months, as well as the rest of our reviews and features. One can also click any title for our full review and head over here to see complete coverage of all titles, including footage, news and more.

All is Lost (J.C. Chandor)

The hurdles in making a film with a single actor, virtually no dialogue and, while you’re at it, also setting action in the middle of the ocean sounds like a daunting, if not impossible feat for a filmmaker to successfully accomplish. Yet, miraculously, All Is Lost, the second feature film from Margin Call director J.C. Candor, is an uncommonly effective piece that acts as a complete reversal from his previous feature. Starring the timeless Robert Redford as a nameless man, the film rests entirely on his shoulders, and he carries it with grace and class. With a performance that’s sure to be remembered for years to come, All Is Lost is a surprisingly mature and profound tale about overcoming the impossible, even if it means sacrificing everything.

Bastards (Claire Denis)

With a directorial style that is heavily influenced by female peers such as Jane Campion and Lynne Ramsay, Claire Denis might not just be one of the best female directors working today, but one of the most unique and impressive. With her latest film Bastards, she explores a dark tale of redemption and perception of identity. As the story spirals to its unforeseen and profoundly disturbing conclusion, the film never waivers in revealing its hand, keeping secrets close until the very last revelatory shots.

Blue is the Warmest Color (Abdellatif Kechiche)

Blue is the Warmest Color (La Vie D’Adele chapters 1 et 2) is a vivid portrait of the ever changing seasons of love, from the first kiss to the final goodbye. Adapted from a French graphic novel Blue Angel and directed by Tunisian filmmaker Abdellatif Kechiche, the film chronicles the experience of an adolescent girl as she navigates life from high school and blossoms into a young adult with her first job as a kindergarten teacher. Effecting and powerful in its portrayal of love, Blue is the Warmest Color is an epic ode to the enduring affection that overwhelms individuals when they find that special someone.

Borgman (Alex van Warmerdam)

One of the big surprises in the main competition at this year’s Cannes Film Festival is Borgman, a Dutch thriller directed by Alex van Warmerdam. Set in the Netherlands, the film focuses on an enigmatic character Borgman, played with subdued menace by Belgian actor Jan Bijvoet, whose bizarre motivations propel this unsettling experience. Reminiscent of such films like Ben Wheatley‘s Kill ListMichael Haneke‘s Funny Games and cult hit The Wicker Man, the drama slowly creeps under your skin with an unsuspecting dose of malice. Equal parts mystery and dark satire, Borgman is an original take on an abstract horror premise that never fully appears to be what you might expect it to be.

The Congress (Ari Folman)

Trippy, bizarre, surreal and hallucinatory are all excellent adjectives with which to describe Ari Folman‘s The Congress. Adapted from a novel by legendary sci-fi author Stanislaw Lem (Solaris), the film is a hybrid of live-action and mind-bending psychedelic animation; as this is the filmmaker’s follow-up to Waltz with Bashir, those familiar with that title know that Folman is far from a traditional filmmaker. Delightfully surreal and spectacular in its scope, The Congress is a strong testament to the originality and talent behind Folman’s vision of where cinema can take us in the years to come.

Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel and Ethan Coen)

Inside Llewyn Davis is a delightful treat for fans of the folk music scene in its infancy while simultaneously being one of the funniest deadpan comedies in years. Profiling a down on his luck musician, Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac), whose natural talent seems like he is destined for success, the film is a vivid portrait of what it means to be a starving artist. The look, and more importantly, the feeling of this film perfectly encapsulates a place in time, giving audiences a transportive experience. A bittersweet tale brimming with wit and humor, Inside Llewyn Davis is sure to satisfy the appetite of hungry cinephiles and music fans alike.

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