Five Films That Took Cannes’ First Week By Storm

Cannes, the haven of such chic proportions, even Lupita Nyong’o managed to upstage her own exceedingly on point red carpet A-game, is currently halfway through hosting the 68th annual Festival de Cannes – where the film industry’s finest are dressed to the absolute nines to worship at the feet of quality cinema. 

A notorious predictor for the year’s following awards season, Cannes’ official selection this year serves up its typical mixed bag: eighteen films from ten different countries are vying for the coveted Palme D’or – announced later this month.

While George Miller’s ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’—not among the official selection—is making headlines as the festival’s unanimous crowd-pleaser, a handful of other films have noticeably stolen hearts during the festival’s opening week. 

And naturally, there’s no better place to start than with Cate Blanchett.


If a film were able to break Cannes, ‘Carol’ would have to be it – reviews flooding in over Todd Haynes’ (‘I’m Not There’, ‘Far From Heaven’) latest film are gushing in their praise: Cate Blanchett stars alongside Rooney Mara in an adaptation of Patricia Highsmith‘s novel, ‘The Price Of Salt’.

While ‘Carol’ may err on the edge of being too obvious of a winner for the Palme D’or, Variety’s review nonetheless confirms that Haynes’ film is up there, labelling it an “exquisitely drawn, deeply felt love story that teases out every shadow and nuance of its characters’ inner lives with supreme intelligence, breathtaking poise and filmmaking craft of the most sophisticated yet accessible order.”


The festival’s most talked-about documentary has undoubtedly been Asif Kapadia’s raw look into the late Amy Winehouse, chronicling her surge in fame and fall from grace. Drawing some criticism from Winehouse’s family, The Independent calls ‘Amy’ “brilliant,” and notes its “unutterable sadness”, with a noticeable lack of accusation surrounding the singer’s death. 

‘Amy’ is showing this month at the Sydney Film Festival.


While The Guardian‘s take on ‘it was extremely sassy (“Now, there’s outre and there’s outre, but The Lobster feels too strenuously odd: it has WTF hand-stitched all over it in fine silk thread,”), there’s largely been widespread praise for ‘The Lobster’, a surreal, dark romantic comedy – taking place in a near-future where single people must couple-up within 45 days or face grave consequences.

The BBC noted the film’s unique premise and plot, but nevertheless awarded ‘The Lobster’ five stars, saying: “Many viewers will be alienated by this harshness. But no one who sees Lanthimos’s profound and richly detailed satire will forget it. It’s bound to be hailed as one of the best films of Cannes, and of 2015.”


Hungarian director Laszlo Nemes makes his festival-stopping directorial debut with ‘Son Of Saul’ – a film which may well take home the Palme D’or as the ultimate underdog. 

‘Son Of Saul’ takes a harrowing look inside the Holocaust, focusing on an Auschwitz prisoner charged with burning the corpses of his own people. The Guardian called it “devastating and terrifying,” the Hollywood Reporter labelled it “remarkable — and remarkably intense,” while Variety called it “terrifyingly accomplished.”


South Korea‘s slick thriller ‘The Shameless’ has boosted Cannes’ noir cred this festival, with Oh Seung-Uk’s gritty film chronicling a seedy underworld of mob bosses, crook detectives and seething femme fatales. Variety praises ‘The Shameless’ as “a mellow pleasure to be slowly savoured,” and is a definite contender for the ‘Un Certain Regard’ category at Cannes— one of the most prestigious nods at the festival.