This week the Cannes Film Festival kicks into high gear, climaxing with the awards announcements on Sunday. While we look forward to the newest edition of winners, we also look back at acclaimed Cannes winners from years past. If you haven’t seen these films, now’s the time to catch up with the best of the world’s top film fest.
Graceful, enigmatic and often frightening, DOGTOOTH is an ingenious dark comedy that won the Prix Un Certain Regard at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, propelling Yorgos Lanthimos to the forefront of contemporary cinema’s most ambitious young filmmakers. In an effort to protect their three children from the corrupting influence of the outside world, a Greek couple transforms their home into a gated compound of cultural deprivation and strict rules of behavior. But children cannot remain innocent forever. When the father brings home a young woman to satisfy his son’s sexual urges, the family’s engineered “reality” begins to crumble with devastating consequences. Like the haunting, dystopic visions of Michael Haneke and Gaspar Noé, DOGTOOTH punctuates its compelling drama with moments of shocking violence, creating a biting social satire that is as profound as it is provoctative.
Winner of the Best Director Prize at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival, Wong Kar-Wai’s HAPPY TOGETHER is a cinematic balancing act, a stunning display of filmmaking style and a touching love story evenly mixed into one film. Hong Kong and world cinema have never seen anything quite like it. Tony Leung and Leslie Cheung, two of Hong Kong’s biggest stars, play a pair of gay lovers living out the waning days of their relationship as expatriates in Buenos Aires. Together with Australian Christopher Doyle, Kar-Wai’s longtime cinematographer, the director discovers a city rich with diverse cultural influences. HAPPY TOGETHER reveals a corner of the world alive with intimate colors and an astonishing array of sounds. Even more striking, though, is the way that such an international collaboration begins to life a romance that is both realistic and universal. Ho and Lai are characters who are instantly identifible, who play the roles and experience the dynamics that all couples go through in the course of a relationship. Lusty tango bars, the salsa music of the La Boca sidewalks and the hypnotic vision of the nearby Igauzu Falls gives further dimension to the tensions growing between the two lovers.
Or (My Treasure)
dir. Keren Yedaya
2004 Cannes Film Festival – Winner, Camera d’Or
Or (Dana Ivgy), a pretty and popular Tel Aviv high school student, works nights at a neighborhood restaurant while taking her first tentative steps out of innocence and into first love. But Or’s real full-time job is looking after her mother Ruthie (Ronit Elkabetz – Late Marriage). After 20 dehumanizing years of curbside prostitution, Ruthie’s survival instincts have begun to deteriorate, and it’s up to Or to see that mother and daughter don’t both wind up on the street together. Or’s love, loyalty and resourcefulness are put to the test as Ruthie’s compulsive self-destructiveness keeps driving her back into prostitution. As the cruel realities of marginalized city life multiply, Or is forced to choose between her mother’s bottomless needs and having an uncorrupted life of her own.
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This profound statement by a great artist facing his own death involves a successful writer on the remote Baltic coast who grapples with the lack of spirituality in the modern world.
Read an exclusive article on The Sacrifice