Cannes 2012. Top Picks



Student (Darezhan Omirbaev, Kazakhstan)
Runaway Train (Andrey Konchalovsky, USA, 1986)
For Love's Sake (Takashi Miike, Japan)


Paradise: Love (Ulrich Seidl, Austria)
La Noche de enfrente (Raúl Ruiz, Chile)
In Another Country (Hong Sang-soo, South Korea)
You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet (Alain Resnais, France)
Cosmopolis (David Cronenberg, Canada)
Gangs of Wasseypur (Anurag Kashyap, India)
11/25 The Day Mishima Chose His Fate (Kôji Wakamatsu, Japan)


Like Someone in Love (Abbas Kiarostami, Japan)
Sueño y silencio (Jaime Roslaes, Spain)
Holy Motors (Leos Carax, France)


Mekong Hotel (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thailand)
After the Battle (Yousry Nasrallah, Egypt)


Beasts of the Southern Wild (Benh Zeitlin, USA)
Amour (Michael Haneke, Austria)
White Elephant (Pablo Trapero, Argentina)
Dario Argento Dracula (Dario Argento, Italy)
Killing Them Softly (Andrew Dominik, USA)
Journal de France (Claudine Nougaret / Raymond Depardon, France)
À perdre la raison (Joachim Lafosse, Belgium)
In the Fog (Sergei Loznitsa, Belarus/Russia/Latvia/Germany/Netherlands)


Reality (Matteo Garrone, Italy)
Beyond the Hills (Cristian Mungiu, Romania)
Lawless (John Hillcoat, USA)
Post Tenebras Lux (Carlos Reygadas, Mexico)


18 responses to this post.  Join the discussion

  • Matt L

    If you were on the film’s jury you would have protested it seems. Thanks for your coverage.

  • Peter

    hmmm…. four of my favorite filmakers in your least favorites.
    you’ve some ‘splainin’ to do…

  • Daniel Kasman

    Matt: indeed, the jury ran almost opposite what I was thinking!

    Peter: I tend not to write much about films I don’t like unless I find them terribly interesting. I was working on a pan on the Hillcoat, which is really the only offensive movie I saw at the festival, but it just seemed mean and unproductive…for the Reygadas, who I assume you include in your four, if you like his past work you should like this…

  • roujin

    Wait, someone bothered to watch GANGS OF WASSEYPUR?! Awesome. I don’t think any critic I follow actually watched that except you.

  • Daniel Kasman

    It’s hard to sink half a day at a festival with a 5.5 hour movie! Luckily Directors’ Fortnight screened it twice, so I was allowed a final Friday with that, the Cronenberg and the Wakamatsu, ending on a high note. Wish I had more to say about it though…it’s quite excellent, the kind of straight genre filmmaking a prestige festival like Cannes avoids…even the Miike isn’t this “normal,” this is closer to RUNAWAY TRAIN…

  • Gulazhar

    Really, “Student” is your #1 favorite? Great to know that! Unfortunately, the jury thought another way…

  • Kurt Walker

    Thanks for the wonderful coverage this year Danny (as per usual)! But, seriously, why isn’t The Paperboy on this list? just kidding. :P

  • CJ Roy

    This extremely positive buzz for the Miike is really exciting me for its eventual N.American release. By chance are you going to write a Runaway Train piece? That film has always intrigued me since I found out about its Kurosawa origins.

  • David Brook

    Student your favourite – really? That film did nothing for me and was my least favourite of the festival. It just felt like a pale imitation of Pickpocket to me, but taking the source material much more literally. It had some nice imagery occasionally, but I found it rather lifeless and flat.

    I was only at the festival for the first 4 days, but Beasts of the Southern Wild was my favourite new release (Lawrence of Arabia was my overall favourite – man that looked good on the big screen in this new 4K remaster).

  • Daniel Kasman

    @David — Not my favorite but one of them (these tiers are organized by viewing date not “rank”). I wrote on it a couple days ago if you want to check that piece. Personally I think it’s understandable but unfair that Omirbaev keeps getting hampered by Bresson comparisons — his technique has some similarity but what he aims at with his technique is nowhere near that Bresson does. See Kent Jones piece on him here: Also, PICKPOCKET wasn’t about a meditated act of murder, like this film is, which makes the subject radically different…

    Unfortunately I’m all done for the fest so no writeup on RUNAWAY TRAIN, but I highly highly recommend that masterpiece. BEASTS I had some serious problems with but is a mighty production and one we should respect. Didn’t catch anything else in Cannes Classics because I heard they were all projected digitally…

  • nathaniel drake carlson

    I seem to remember that you were somewhat cool toward the last Kiarostami (I certainly was—against the grain of many, I know). Is the new one a distinct improvement?

  • Lostcontrol

    What did you think of ‘On The Road’ ?

  • Daniel Kasman

    @Lostcontrol I skipped it; no faith in Salles and word of mouth was terrible

    @Nathaniel Good memory! I’d venture to say this film is less rich with ideas but more open in form, which is probably why I found it so baffling.

  • Glenn Heath Jr.

    Danny, I thought you were higher on LIKE SOMEONE IN LOVE than tier 3. No? Thought you mentioned to me that it was one of your fav’s. Bummed I never pulled the trigger on GANGS, but so glad you did. I could never muster the strength to dedicate that much time to it. I did manage to see STUDENT, which I thought was excellent. Best in UCR by a mile. I also wasn’t keen on the Reygadas. Impenetrable stuff.

  • Daniel Kasman

    Hi Glenn! Ah these are just minor gradations of enjoyment. But no I wasn’t one of the ones in love with Abbas, like you were! I was more pleased by its mystery and my inability to get a handle on it. You should drop a link to your piece here, for others to enjoy! Glad you made it to STUDENT, UCR sure was weak this year….

  • Glenn Heath Jr.

    As per Danny’s request. Here’s my take on LIKE SOMEONE IN LOVE, if anyone’s interested. Thanks for the platform, Danny!

  • Filmy

    Nice cover Daniel, looking forward to your detailed thoughts on Gangs of Wasseypur and Amour, strange you rank it low among competition and it ended winner, diagnosis needed!

  • David Grillo

    So than what was up with the jury? I’ll take your list into consideration over there selections.

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