2015 Cannes, Cannes

2015 Cannes Palme d’Or

2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5)

2015 marks the very first year that I attended Cannes and the phrase “you have to be there to know the feeling” certainly applies here. It’s just one-of-the-kind experience, so much so that I’m glad to overlook the fact that the 2015 lineup is pretty weak, in fact the lowest point out of the whole decade. Dheepan’s win is amongst the least plausible winner pick in recent years, and I could point to the last-minutes choice for where Cannes makes a head-scratching decision: they picked the underwhelmed Valley of Love and Chronic instead of Weerasethakul’s mesmerizing Cemetery of Splendor, even more puzzling with the fact that Cemetery is right after him winning Cannes for Uncle Boonmee and if Cemetery were in, it could comfortably sit in the top 3. To be fair though, the rest of The Coens’ jury choices are fine with me, but truly that one major pick stings.

This edition is notable for having international directors fleshing their muscles and working in English productions, with varying degrees of success. While The Lobster and Youth make a swift transition to Anglo-saxon market, Tale of Tales, Louder than Bombs and Chronic make little impact. If I have to sum up the general themes of films competing this year, this line-up has a strong flavor of costumed pieces (Macbeth, Marguerite & Julien, Tale of Tales and to a larger extent The Assassin and Carol as well). Personal and familial drama are featured frequently in the Main Competition, and “grief” becomes one of the main themes for many films this year (The Sea of Trees, Louder than Bombs, Mia Madre, Valley of Love you can also argue that Son of Saul is in here too).

It’s the first time in a while where there are 3 Italian directors competing for Palme D’or (you can see their pic together below). Asian films are in good shape with all 3 films making it to my first half. It’s just the general field lacks depth as I could only regard the first 7 films as solid. Finally, 2 French women directors are in the line-up but the Marguerite & Julien slot is just plain bad – while Cannes always assert that they pick films based on the quality and not who’s behind the project, it’s films like this that make me think they fill this slot to meet the quota. Pretty uninspiring choice.

Should have been on the list:Cemetery of Splendor (Apichatpong Weerasethakul) – Un Certain Regard

Arabian Nights (Miguel Gomes) – Directors’ Fortnight

Love (Gaspar Noe) – Midnight Screening

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