The glamorous and prestigious Cannes Film Festival is, among other things, the bellwether for what’s to come at the box office (to say nothing of awards season). Famous for its discerning audiences, star-studded red carpets, and its ability to launch the careers of many now-famous filmmakers, if you can make it at Cannes, you can make it anywhere. At Fandor, we love this annual celebration of cinematic excellence so much that we curated a playlist of past award winners from the fest to celebrate this, the seventy-first year of its existence! And now, with the festival in full swing, we’re beginning to see what’s garnering the most buzz. Out of a stacked lineup, four movies have emerged as the ones to watch in the coming year. Luckily, you don’t have to buy a ticket to the French Riviera to see them; you just have to wait until they open in theaters! Here’s what all of the fuss is about:
A Spike Lee joint produced by Get Out’s Jordan Peele? Insert the hungry eyes emoji, the heart eyes emoji, and the raised fist emoji here!
What’s most scorching about this movie isn’t its politics exactly, but the way that you could strip out the hairstyles (and the leisure suits) and just as easily set it in the present day. In fact, the concept of a black man convincing the necessary powers that be (in this case, David Duke himself) of his “causality” over the phone makes BlacKkKlansman a fascinating counterpoint to another highly-anticipated coming attraction, Boots Riley’s Sorry to Bother You, which is set in near-future Oakland instead of 1970s Colorado. The fact that this brazen tale about a rookie cop infiltrating a domestic terrorist cell is based on a true story is the cherry on top of an incendiary and deeply satisfying cinematic sundae. Wait, then does that make Adam Driver’s supporting role the whipped cream? Hmmm…
The first feature film from Kenya to ever screen at Cannes is also currently banned in its home country. Why? Because its central plot is a love story…between two women. Like Disobedience (out now), Rafiki focuses on a forbidden attraction that threatens the surrounding community and culture, but unlike Disobedience, in Kenya, that defiance is of the macrocosm, not a microcosmic, isolated sect within it.
Nationalized homophobia is a huge bummer (understatement of the century, right there), but in our experience, there’s nothing like a little censorship to unwittingly contribute to a movie’s mystique. Not that Rafiki really needs it: By the trailer alone, we can tell that this audacious movie is a tender, complex portrait of a budding romance set against the backdrop of a complicated postcolonial democracy. Add a standing ovation at its Cannes premiere, and you have the recipe for a gorgeous and important new addition to the contemporary LGBTQIA+ canon.
The House That Jack Built
Where to start with a film trailer, when said film reportedly made over a hundred people walk out of its premiere at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival due to its unrelentingly graphic violence towards women, children, and even tiny, defenseless animals?
Then again, this is a Lars von Trier film, after all—the Danish shock provocateur who seems hell-bent on leaving his audiences reeling from his continued dark descents into psychosis. This isn’t to say that von Trier, who was deemed “Persona non Grata” at the 2011 Cannes, should be left off the hook for his grotesque worldview, yet, we would be liars to say that the trailer hasn’t piqued our interest. Starring a perfectly cast and fully creepy Matt Dillon, the trailer promises a philosophical back and forth between Dillon’s Jack and Verge (Bruno Ganz), as the two discuss art, architecture, and of course, murder. And the murder hinted at does look entirely shocking and disturbing, but when David Bowie’s “Fame” begins to play midway through, it adds just a touch of the Coen Brothers’ nihilistic sense of irony—where the bad guy might just get off scot-free.
But most importantly, we just hope von Trier didn’t actually hurt that cute little duckling.
And here we have France’s equivalent of von Trier, Gaspar Noé—who has become known for blending virtuoso filmmaking with vile scenes of violence. Funny enough, Noé saw von Trier’s film and left saying, “All the sadistic scenes are so funny.”
But instead of a hundred people walking out on Climax, the film has received rave reviews across the board, with indie powerhouse A24 swooping the film up. Regardless, it still seems to keep with Noé’s penchant for orgies, violence, and epileptic aesthetics. Taking place over a single night with a dance troupe that gets locked in a dance hall with acid-spiked sangria, the trailer promises all the normal Noé hallmarks, but with a surprising amount of joy and fun (by his standards).