The 69th Cannes Film Festival wrapped over the weekend and like every other year, there were some highs and some lows, some standing ovations and, yes, some boos. Overall, while the fest was a considerably modest affair, there were a handful of buzzworthy movies that debuted, a few huge deals that went down, and of course, a handful of surprises and controversies that made for some fascinating conversation on the Croisette. Here’s a few of the top takeaways from this year’s fest:
Ken Loach Nabs Second Palme d’or
The Cannes jury led by Mad Max: Fury Road director George Miller baptized Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Black with the Palme d’Or. The emotional film about a struggling Newcastle carpenter in the middle of a social welfare battle won over critics and audiences. This marks Loach’s second Palme d’Or. He took home his first 10 years ago for his drama The Wind That Shakes the Barley.
STX Scores The Biggest Titles
The Cannes market was fairly quiet this year, but if any studio were to be named the big winner of the fest it would be STX Entertainment. The two year old studio beat out studios like Universal, Fox, and Lionsgate for the international rights for Martin Scorsese’s mobster flick The Irishman starring Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino for $50 million. The studio also nabbed the U.S. and China rights to Aaron Sorkin’s poker drama Molly’s Game with Idris Elba and Jessica Chastain for a cool $9 million.
Everyone Is In Love With Loving
Films like Steven Spielberg’s The BFG, Nicolas Winding Refn’s The Neon Demon, and Sean Penn’s The Last Face were expected to be the most buzzworthy titles, but ended up getting a lukewarm ovation from critics and audiences.
Enter Jeff Nichols’s civil rights drama, Loving.
Considering the current social climate and all the #OscarsSoWhite aftershocks rippling through Hollywood, Loving couldn’t come at a better time. Set in 1958 Virginia, the film tells the story of the real-life interracial couple Richard and Mildred Loving who got married and were sentenced to prison for doing so. The film was probably one of the most buzzed about films of Cannes, earning stars Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga acclaim and plenty of early Oscar buzz.
The Return Of Shia LeBeouf
It seems that Shia LeBeouf got all of the bizarre, social media-bait behavior out of his system because he was on his best behavior when he made his appearance for the Andrew Arnold drama American Honey, which was another top film of the fest. LaBeouf left all his performance art arsenal at home and did his actor duties with no surprises or outbursts — or maybe it was a form of performance art.
The Warwick/Gaga Saga
The cast of the forthcoming Dionne Warwick biopic was announced at Cannes and it was quite an impressive list. Former Destiny’s Child member LeToya Luckett is set to play Warwick opposite Danny Glover, Olympia Dukakis, and Lady Gaga. Supposedly. When it was announced that Gaga was going to star as Warwick’s rival Cillia Back, Gaga’s camp immediately responded and said she was never attached. But Warwick herself was singing a different tune. So we really don’t know who to believe at this point.
Kristen Stewart Gets Jeers And Cheers
The Cannes audiences isn’t shy about jeering and booing a film. At this point, it’s tradition. Last year, Matthew McConaughey’s Sea of Trees was the recipient of the jeers and the year before that Ryan Gosling’s directorial debut Lost River was baptized with boos. This year, Kristen Stewart’s Personal Shopper kept the tradition going — although not all critics agreed with the boos. Some were referring to Stewart’s role as a personal shopper who can communicate with spirits as one of her best performances.
We Need To Talk About Woody
This wasn’t the best Cannes for Woody Allen. Timed with the premiere of his film Cafe Society, his son Ronan Farrow wrote an essay for The Hollywood Reporter basically putting the media on blast about how they didn’t take the sexual abuse allegations by his sister Dylan against their father seriously. During the opening night of the film, the evening’s emcee, French comic Laurent Lafitte, said about Allen, “You’ve been shooting so many of your films here in Europe and yet in the U.S. you haven’t even been convicted for rape.” Naturally, that shocked audiences. And the final nail in the coffin was when Susan Sarandon said in an interview with Variety, “I think he sexually abused a child and I don’t think that’s right.”
Needless to say, this year’s Cannes probably won’t rank as one of Allen’s favorites.
Dino-Ray Ramos | Staff Writer