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REVIEWED BY Ashwini Vethakan
The Cannes Film Festival 2021 made its highly anticipated return following last year’s cancellation due to the pandemic, providing us with nearly two weeks of glitzy fashion on the red carpet, dazzling jewellery and the best movies from filmmakers across the globe.
This year’s jury included many popular Hollywood names with Spike Lee (the first black man to head the Cannes jury), Jessica Hausner, Kleber Mendonça Filho, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Mati Diop and many others.
With new spirited Indie directors stepping up and showcasing their latest projects, and many female directors showing the film industry how important female representation is, the very existence of the glitzy red-carpet cinematic celebration represented a sense of hope – and in many ways, a comeback to the international film industry.
So what was among the best?
The movies did not disappoint. If you’re bored with Netflix and Hulu, and looking for some new movies and stories to binge on, here are a few Cannes Film Festival mentions you ought to check out.
TITANE Aptly titled ‘audacious’ by The Economist, this year’s Palme d’Or winner was quite a shocker. Bloody but captivating, the film made quite the sensation when it screened, and was roundly criticised and described as ‘monstrous.’
However, the movie’s director (and writer) Julia Ducournau made Cannes history – being the second woman to win the award since 1993; and so one has to wonder what it is about the movie that captured some of the world’s most seasoned actors and directors into falling in love with it.
FEATHERS Referred to as a “hidden gem” by the Hollywood Reporter, this Egyptian dramedy follows a quiet woman whose existence is entirely dedicated to her family. She spends her time going through life’s mundane motions until her overbearing husband is accidentally turned into a chicken during her son’s fourth birthday.
You may raise your eyebrows at the absurdity of its plot… but who knows, you just might enjoy it!
A HERO Here’s a classic case of ‘good deeds gone bad’ in the Iranian drama directed by Asghar Farhadi. If there’s one thing we all know about the critically acclaimed filmmaker, it’s his penchant for making movies based on real life scenarios – where we see characters being treated and situations playing out just like they would in our everyday lives.
Not much is different in the latest ethical melodrama by Farhadi, which tells the story of a man who is recently out of prison for an unpaid debt stumbling upon a random bag of money.
THE SALAMANDER CHILD If you’ve got the next 30 minutes to spare, that is all you’ll need to watch this short film, which was awarded first prize in the Cinéfondation Selection. The film – which was created, written and directed by film students – won praise for its novel script and ingenious storytelling.
NITRAM This Australian drama with its deeply volatile story and equally disturbing characters is terrifying when you stop and think about it… it’s based on the true events of the Port Arthur massacre of 1996 when a violently disturbed young man named Martin Bryant shot and killed 35 people at a Tasmanian tourist site with a semi-automatic rifle. The film did so well at the festival that it received a seven minute ovation once the credits rolled out!
But while we should praise and congratulate Caleb Landry Jones for his award-winning portrayal of Bryant, there’s something eerie about his character that leaves you wondering how any actor would voluntarily want to take on such a dark and twisted role.