Sunday, May 24, 2015

Cannes 2015: The Wrap-Up and the Rankings

My second Cannes Film Festival is in the books. I'm still trying to absorb the last two weeks, so even attempting a ranking at this point is probably foolhardy. But I find the exercise useful to help me focus my thoughts around where certain films landed in relation to others. From worst to best, here's what I saw, including movies I caught before the festival (links lead to individual reviews)....

34. The Sea of Trees
33. A Tale of Love and Darkness
32. Standing Tall
31. Sleeping Giant
30. Macbeth
29. Alias Maria 
28. Green Room
27. Lamb
26. The Little Prince
25. Sicario 
24. Irrational Man
23. Mustang
22. Dheepan
21. Mon Roi
20. The Treasure
19. Mountains May Depart 
18. Embrace of the Serpent
17. One Floor Below
16. The Assassin 
15. Krisha
14. Love
13. Our Little Sister
12. Youth
11. Tale of Tales
10. Dope
9. Mad Max: Fury Road
8. Chronic
7. The Measure of a Man
6. Inside Out
5. Louder Than Bombs
4. Carol
3. Son of Saul
2. Cemetery of Splendor
1. The Lobster

Will these rankings shift over time? Almost certainly. Keep an eye out for No. 16, The Assassin, which may grow in stature with multiple viewings. Also, I'm curious about No. 5, Louder Than Bombs, which I fear may be less impressive the next time I see it. But for today, this is the list.

A few words about The Lobster. Several colleagues have complained that they think the movie runs out of gas halfway through, when a major venue change occurs. I actually think the film gets even better then. Not since, I dunno, Safe has a filmmaker so radically shifted gears in the second half of his film in order to offer a counterpoint to his own argument. (Plus, both films are starkly clinical, although The Lobster is a lot funnier.) I don't buy the betting odds that it will win the Palme d'Or -- I think Carol is still the best bet -- but The Lobster was a standout, even if it's going to prove more divisive than Yorgos Lanthimos' breakout film, Dogtooth.

What else is there to say? Well, I'm sorry I didn't have time for Amy, In the Shadow of Women, Arabian Nights, The Brand New Testament, My Golden Days and others. I hope Vincent Lindon wins Best Actor from the festival for his performance in The Measure of a Man (No. 7 on my list). And I think that if, as several have said, this was a down year at Cannes, well, there were still plenty of pleasures to be found.