Cannes Film Festival: 10 Palme d’Or films to watch now

73 years after the Cannes Film Festival, the coveted Palme d’Or remains one of the industry’s top honors. The prize has been awarded to some of the greatest authors in history – Roberto Rossellini, Orson Welles, Henri-Georges Clouzot, Luis Buñuel – and his global perspective has remained consistent, with acknowledgments for new films that take the risk of shedding light. on urgent social problems, from whichever country they come from. Despite the cancellation of this year’s edition due to the coronavirus crisis, its influence continues to be felt, especially after the critical and commercial success of last year’s Palme d’Or winner : Bong Joon-ho’s daring thriller Parasite.

The Cannes Film Festival 2020 Palme d’Or should have been announced on 23 May; for the occasion, here is a list of 10 winning films to be reviewed now, from a surreal musical of the 70s to a moving Japanese family drama.

1. The sweet life (1960)

The sweet life, 1960.

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There is no better introduction to Federico Fellini’s work than this exuberant masterpiece. Set in seven decadent Roman days, he talks about a tired journalist from the world (Marcello Mastroianni) chasing stories for his gossip column. The women he pursues are glamorous and enigmatic – Anouk Aimée shines in the role of a bored heiress – but the most fascinating is Anita Ekberg in the part of a movie star who, after dancing until late at night, enters the Trevi Fountain with a long evening dress.

2. Blow-Up (1966)

Blow Up, 1966.

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Veruschka with a beaded cocktail dress, Vanessa Redgrave with a plaid shirt and Jane Birkin with a striped minidress – the actresses who populate the Michelangelo Antonioni cult classic are as incisive as they are masters of style. They interpret the subjects and the different perspectives of a fashion photographer (David Hemmings) whose life is turned upside down when he comes across a murder scene. It’s a thriller that splits into a vibrant portrait of Swinging London, complete with wild parties and rock’n’roll soundtrack.

3. Taxi Driver (1976)

Taxi Driver, 1976.

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Martin Scorsese’s story of urban alienation counts on the performance that Robert De Niro has consecrated. In the role of a Vietnam veteran converted into a taxi driver, he wanders the streets of New York troubled by the corruption and exploitation in which he comes across. Violence will soon make its way, but there is an unexpected beauty in the hallucinatory visual system and in the film’s soundtrack: a feverish dream of neon signs, sidewalks wet with rain and steam that rises sinisterly from the manholes.

4. Apocalypse Now (1979)

Apocalypse Now, 1979.

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In this electrifying war epic, a soldier (Martin Sheen) travels from Vietnam to Cambodia on a secret mission to assassinate a deserter colonel. Resolute in the representation of the horrors of the war, the film passes from fields sprinkled with napalm to jungles engulfed in flames, up to a bombardment on the notes of Valkyrie’s ride by Wagner. Beyond the scenes that went down in history, it is a meditation on the absurdity of war and the psychological wounds that is left behind.

5. All That Jazz – The show continues (1979)

All That Jazz – The show continues, 1979

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Bob Fosse’s spectacular semi-autobiographical musical opens up a swirl of leg surges and jazz hands, but underneath the shiny surface things are much more complicated. The film revolves around an eccentric choreographer (Roy Scheider) who juggles projects on Broadway and Hollywood, running between theaters and editing rooms until he gradually loses contact with reality. There are dream dance sequences, elaborate costumes and bizarre forays into the mind of a creative genius.

6. Kagemusha – The shadow of the warrior (1980)

Kagemusha- The shadow of the warrior, 1980.

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In feudal Japan of the 16th century, the death of a prince is hidden by a look-alike, a thief who looks like him impressively. Tatsuya Nakadai happily plays both roles, in his penultimate collaboration with the legendary director Akira Kurosawa. It is an epic of samurai that mixes Shakespearean court intrigues and explosive battles, culminating in a terrifying scene in which the impostor lets his arrogance prevail.

7. Paris, Texas (1984)

Paris Texas, 1984.

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The vast landscapes of the American Southwest are the poetic backdrop for Wim Wenders’ melancholy road movie. The film begins with a vagabond (Harry Dean Stanton) walking alone in the desert. After a mysterious four-year absence, he is found by his brother (Dean Stockwell) and leaves to find his lost wife (Nastassja Kinski). It is worth seeing it even just for the performance of the latter, moving, measured, not to mention the bobbed bob and the fuchsia mohair minidress that made it a style icon.

8. Piano lessons (1993)

Piano lessons, 1993.

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With this fascinating costume drama, Jane Campion has become the first, and still the only, female director to win the Cannes main prize. The intense performances of the two actresses received an Oscar: Holly Hunter in the role of a dumb Scottish widow and Anna Paquin in that of her precocious little daughter. The two are sent to New Zealand after the first was promised in marriage to a landowner, but the tragedy looms when he agrees to give piano lessons to a rude lumberjack (Harvey Keitel) with whom he will fall in love.

9. A family affair (2018)

A family affair, 2018

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An unconventional family is at the heart of Hirokazu Kore-da’s delicate modern poverty study in Tokyo. A gang consisting of an elderly matriarch, a couple, a girl and a child make ends meet with thefts in supermarkets. Soon, they take a girl (Miyu Sasaki) with them that they suspect is being abused by their parents. Was the girl kidnapped or saved? The film doesn’t offer many answers but it captures with warmth, compassion and a lucid worldview.

10. Parasite (2019)

Parasite, 2019.

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Parasite is the first film to win both the Palme d’Or and the Oscar for Best Film afterwards Marty in 1955, Bong Joon-ho’s audacious satire consolidated its place in the history of cinema. An overwhelming and hilarious comedy that combines black comedy with Hitchcock’s horror memory and social realism – a fairy tale about two clans, one poor but ambitious and one naive and wealthy, whose lives intersect. The scenography is impeccable, the pungent dialogues and a growing concern is undeniable.

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