As the Cannes Film Festival closes, we present a double bill of Palme d’Or winners leading up to Sunday’s awards ceremony. A Cannes mainstay, director Nanni Moretti took the top prize in 2001 for this gentle, tender story of tragedy and renewal—the 21st century arthouse at its warmest.
Starting in sex and thrills straight-to-video, Kiyoshi Kurosawa worked his way out of that cine-ghetto to forge a style equal parts chilly art-house and pulp genre. Pulse may be his best known film, but this eerily lovely drama secured his first (and so far, only) slot in the Cannes competition.
There seems little that TV entertainer, painter, actor, and seven times Cannes-selected filmmaker Takeshi Kitano can’t do. But he’s always been best known for what he does here, in his terrific breakout: deadpan yakuza films, honed to a quick blade’s edge, at once dark and tender, sad and funny.
One of the most vibrant cinema scenes of our era is in Iran, right under the nose of censors. Despite a government ban on his work—and with the crew uncredited, for safety—filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof crafted this clandestine, fiery political thriller. Winner of the Critics Prize at Cannes.
Master of cult cinema Alejandro Jodorowsky, famed for such lysergic vision quests as El Topo and The Holy Mountain, came to Cannes 1989 with something new: a psychedelic time-shifting horror story! Bloody, brilliant proof the Croisette has housed some truly dangerous visions.
Next in our Cannes series is an ace combo, part genre film (car races, crime!) and part French art movie (immersion in a rural community!) that premiered at Directors’ Fortnight and is showing exclusively on MUBI. “Daybreak and dusk…raw textures and whirlwind urges,” we wax in the Notebook.
Director Olivier Assayas and superstar Maggie Cheung had a love affair in cinema, starting with the classic Irma Vep and leading to a real-life marriage that fell apart. They reunited at Cannes for this lovely tale of rebirth, which won Best Actress for Cheung and a prize for its nimble camerawork.
King-of-cool Jim Jarmusch showed up to Cannes ’95 with possibly his best film: a self-described “Psychedelic Western”, rebuilding the genre as a ragged, comic, uniquely American trip with help from a hip cast (Johnny Depp! Iggy Pop! Robert Mitchum!) and scored to a mystic jam by Neil Young.
Well before The Great Beauty launched him to new levels of arthouse superstardom, Paolo Sorrentino scooped the Jury Prize at Cannes with this wild true story of political corruption in Italy, starring Beauty star Toni Servillo. Part biopic, part thriller, and glossed to a gorgeous, decadent sheen!
Taiwan’s Hou Hsiao-hsien, last seen at Cannes winning Best Director for The Assassin, brought to the 2001 fest this hypnotic cocktail of sex and longing, binding past and future together and awash in gorgeous neon colors. A sensuous, beloved work from a true modern master.
The Cannes Film Festival unrolls its Riviera red carpet tomorrow, and we’re staging a Cannes Takeover for the next two weeks, as we play some of the best films that have shown at cinema’s most prestigious premiere event. Our opening film is Léos Carax’s grand, dazzlingly romantic ode to love.