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1-20 of 76 items from 2016   « Prev | Next »


Where the heart is by Anne-Katrin Titze

16 hours ago | eyeforfilm.co.uk | See recent eyeforfilm.co.uk news »

At breakfast with Anton Honik, Miri Ann Beuschel and Forældre director Christian Tafdrup Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

Roman Polanski's Rosemary's Baby, Michael Haneke, a rabbit memory not from Alice In Wonderland, Danish fairy tales, Oscar Wilde's The Picture Of Dorian Gray, Molière's Tartuffe and an Andrei Tarkovsky tracking shot pops up in my conversation with director/writer/actor Christian Tafdrup.

In a turn of events straight out of David Lynch's Lost Highway book of identity magic, Kjeld (Søren Malling of Nikolaj Arcel's A Royal Affair) dreams to relive his younger days. This comes true in unexpected ways through Miri Ann Beuschel and Elliott Crosset Hove. With their son Esben (Anton Honik) leaving for college, Kjeld and Vibeke (Bodil Jørgensen of Cæcilia Holbek Trier's Agnus Dei and Anders Thomas Jensen's Men & Chicken) feel that their suburban house has become too big and empty for them. They »

- Anne-Katrin Titze

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The Movies That Changed My Life: ‘Childhood Of A Leader’ Director Brady Corbet

22 July 2016 9:54 AM, PDT | The Playlist | See recent The Playlist news »

Actor-turned-filmmaker Brady Corbet has had an interesting career. While he did TV work on his way up, even from a very early time in his career he was picking good projects. Starting with Catherine Hardwicke‘s “Thirteen” in 2003, by the time 2011 had rolled around he had already starred in films by Michael Haneke, Gregg […]

The post The Movies That Changed My Life: ‘Childhood Of A Leader’ Director Brady Corbet appeared first on The Playlist. »

- Rodrigo Perez

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The 20 Best Black-and-White Movies of the Last 20 Years

21 July 2016 11:09 AM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

Once the default mode, black and white has now become a bold statement of artistic intention. What that intention is, however, seems to be a little bit different for all of the recent films that have made the most of it. Often, monochrome is used as a pipeline to the past — in “Good Night, and Good Luck,” a lack of color not only speaks to how history remembers Edward R. Murrow, it also conjures the imagery of his television news broadcasts. Michael Haneke’s “The White Ribbon” similarly uses the technique to take us back in time, but is less about recreating an era than it is about establishing a chokehold of fatalistic austerity.

“The Man Who Wasn’t There” is another period piece, but the lack of color in the Coen brothers’ film — which was shot in color and then bled dry — assumes a moral quality, making Billy Bob Thornton »

- Anne Thompson, David Ehrlich, Liz Shannon Miller, Steve Greene, Sarah Colvin, Chris O'Falt, Kate Halliwell, Kyle Kizu and Zack Sharf

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Could the UK rejoin Eurimages following Brexit?

30 June 2016 3:50 AM, PDT | ScreenDaily | See recent ScreenDaily news »

Eurimages executive director Roberto Olla reiterates that the door remains open.

The UK left Eurimages, the Council of Europe’s fund for co-production, distribution and exhibition of European cinema in 1996.

However, following last week’s Brexit referendum, the possibility of the UK re-joining the organisation may be explored again in a bid to safeguard some official ties with European partners.

Roberto Olla, executive director of Eurimages, which has 37 member states and an annual budget of €25m, has this week again re-iterated that the UK would be very welcome to come back aboard the fund.

“The UK is welcome to come back any time they consider right,” Olla said.

“Should the UK decide to leave the Council of Europe as well (as the EU), then joining Eurimages would be a little bit more complicated but not impossible,” Olla cautioned.

Eurimages and Council of Europe members include Norway and Turkey, neither of whom are EU members.

If the UK »

- geoffrey@macnab.demon.co.uk (Geoffrey Macnab)

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Could UK rejoin Eurimages following Brexit?

30 June 2016 3:50 AM, PDT | ScreenDaily | See recent ScreenDaily news »

Eurimages executive director Roberto Olla reiterates that the door remains open.

The UK left Eurimages, the Council of Europe’s fund for co-production, distribution and exhibition of European cinema in 1996.

However, following last week’s Brexit referendum, the possibility of the UK re-joining the organisation may be explored again in a bid to safeguard some official ties with European partners.

Roberto Olla, executive director of Eurimages, which has 37 member states and an annual budget of €25m, has this week again re-iterated that the UK would be very welcome to come back aboard the fund.

“The UK is welcome to come back any time they consider right,” Olla said.

“Should the UK decide to leave the Council of Europe as well (as the EU), then joining Eurimages would be a little bit more complicated but not impossible,” Olla cautioned.

Eurimages and Council of Europe members include Norway and Turkey, neither of whom are EU members.

If the UK »

- geoffrey@macnab.demon.co.uk (Geoffrey Macnab)

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Michael Haneke’s New Film ‘Happy End’ Is Now Filming, Mathieu Kassovitz Confirmed To Join Cast

27 June 2016 9:05 AM, PDT | The Playlist | See recent The Playlist news »

Europe is currently in as disastrous a state as any time in the last seventy years, one could argue. The refugee crisis that has seen thousands die in the Mediterranean as they attempt to seek sanctuary from war, the rise of the far-right in multiple countries, and, most recently, Britain cutting off its nose to […]

The post Michael Haneke’s New Film ‘Happy End’ Is Now Filming, Mathieu Kassovitz Confirmed To Join Cast appeared first on The Playlist. »

- Oliver Lyttelton

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Kassovitz Joins Haneke's "Happy End"

27 June 2016 9:01 AM, PDT | Dark Horizons | See recent Dark Horizons news »

Mathieu Kassovitz ("Amelie") has joined the cast of Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke's next project "Happy End" for Les Films du Losange, X Filme and Wega Film.

The story follows a well-off family in northern France living in a bourgeois bubble unaware of the despair and human misery unfolding in migrant camps around the port town of Calais, a few miles from their home.

Isabelle Huppert and Jean-Louis Trintignant also star in the project which just began shooting in Nord-Pas-de-Calais ahead of a 2017 release.

Source: Screen »

- Garth Franklin

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Michael Haneke’s Calais-set 'Happy End' secures deals as shoot begins

27 June 2016 4:11 AM, PDT | ScreenDaily | See recent ScreenDaily news »

Exclusive: Les Films du Losange secures key deals; Matthieu Kassovitz joins cast also featuring Jean-Louis Trintignant and Isabelle Huppert.

Paris-based Les Films du Losange has unveiled pre-sales on Michael Haneke’s next film Happy End as the first day of shooting begins in the northern French region of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais today.

Few details on the production have been revealed publicly bar that the film will revolve around a well-off French family living in a bourgeois bubble in northern France, oblivious to the human misery unfolding in migrant camps around the port town of Calais, a few miles from their home.

As previously reported by one French media outlet, Matthieu Kassovitz has recently joined the cast which also features the previously announced Jean-Louis Trintignant and Isabelle Huppert as well as a host of younger new faces.

A number of distributors who released Haneke’s 2013 Palme d’Or and Oscar-winning Amour – which made $34m at global box office — have »

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Michael Haneke’s Calais-set 'Happy End' secures key deals as shoot begins

27 June 2016 4:11 AM, PDT | ScreenDaily | See recent ScreenDaily news »

Exclusive: Les Films du Losange secures deals; Matthieu Kassovitz joins cast also featuring Jean-Louis Trintignant and Isabelle Huppert.

Paris-based Les Films du Losange has unveiled pre-sales on Michael Haneke’s next film Happy End as the first day of shooting begins in the northern French region of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais today.

Few details on the production have been revealed publicly bar that the film will revolve around a well-off French family living in a bourgeois bubble in northern France, oblivious to the human misery unfolding in migrant camps around the port town of Calais, a few miles from their home.

As previously reported by one French media outlet, Matthieu Kassovitz has recently joined the cast which also features the previously announced Jean-Louis Trintignant and Isabelle Huppert as well as a host of younger new faces.

A number of distributors who released Haneke’s 2013 Palme d’Or and Oscar-winning Amour – which made $34m at global box office — have signed »

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Michael Haneke’s Use of Sound and Silence Explored in New Video Essay

21 June 2016 7:12 AM, PDT | The Film Stage | See recent The Film Stage news »

Michael Haneke is a filmmaker who demands his audience’s attention. Known for examining social issues and extensive use of static long-takes depicting characters suffering, he has been called everything from a genius to a sadist. A new video essay by Elsie Walker, titled “Taking Time to Hear: Accented Rests in Michael Haneke’s Cinema,” argues that the director is the opposite of a sadist.

Instead, he is a filmmaker who cares deeply enough for his characters that he takes the time to sit with them through their anguish, their fear, and their exhaustion. By allowing sound, including silences, to take center stage, Haneke is transferring this burden of compassion to his viewers. What results are contemplative, difficult works such as CachéFunny Games, and Benny’s Video.

Watch the essay below (with a hat tip to The Playlist) as Haneke gets ready to shoot his next film Happy End. »

- Mike Mazzanti

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8-Minute Video Essay Explores Michael Haneke’s Use Of Disturbing Silence

20 June 2016 10:45 AM, PDT | The Playlist | See recent The Playlist news »

If you ever decide to watch a Michael Haneke film make sure you’re in the right mood for something either punishing or provocative. It’s not to dismiss the Austrian auteur’s singular vision, but embarking into the world of his films is to often have your spirit and soul drained out. His work is rigorous, restrained […]

The post 8-Minute Video Essay Explores Michael Haneke’s Use Of Disturbing Silence appeared first on The Playlist. »

- Jordan Ruimy

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‘Casualties of War’: Brian De Palma’s Exorcism of the Vietnam War

17 June 2016 12:24 PM, PDT | The Film Stage | See recent The Film Stage news »

Taking a glance over his filmography, it’s quick to surmise Brian De Palma’s lack of interest in the words “Inspired By” or “Based on a True Story.” His attraction to images leans so heavily towards their natural falsity rather than some kind of prosaic yet still wholly phony verisimilitude. But one of the few exceptions lends a tragic weight that few of his films have.

The true story in question is what’s commonly referred to as Incident on Hill 192: in 1966, an American army squad in the Vietnam War kidnapped a young village girl, then subsequently gang-raped and murdered her. Journalist Daniel Lang brought this to further public attention with a 1969 article in The New Yorker entitled Casualties of War, of which De Palma’s film would share the name.

It caught the attention of screenwriter David Rabe and then De Palma, who had, since the late ’70s, »

- Ethan Vestby

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‘The Childhood Of A Leader’ Review: Brady Corbet’s Directorial Debut Is An Enthralling Mind-f*ck

14 June 2016 11:00 AM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

A 27-year-old dude from Scottsdale, Arizona, Brady Corbet has somehow become the go-to guy for major European auteurs in need of a young American who can pick up what they’re putting down. We may never fully understand how he parlayed a one-episode cameo on “The King of Queens” and a recurring appearance in the fifth season of “24” into a series of brilliant collaborations with titans of international cinema like Michael Haneke (“Funny Games”) and Lars von Trier (“Melancholia”), but it’s clear why Corbet might have a special appreciation for how public figures are often seen through the lens of their beginnings. With his unusually accomplished directorial debut “Childhood of a Leader,” Corbet delivers a strange and startling film that reflects the unique trajectory of his career, as well as the influence of the iconoclastic directors with whom he’s already worked.

The first strains of Scott Walker’s panicky score slice into the soundtrack like Penderecki having a heart attack, the strings cutting into archival footage of World War I troops marching in formation. The opening titles are draped in terror, and they steel audiences for an ominous origin story on par with the horrors presaged by “Max” or “The Omen.” And on that promise, Corbet delivers — albeit it in his own elliptical, psychically tormented, and increasingly hypnotic way.

The Childhood of a Leader” tells the story of a young American boy (Tom Sweet) coming of age in a snowbound pocket of rural France circa 1918. His young yet severe mother (“The Artist” star Bérénice Bejo) is fed up with her son from the start, and takes out most of her frustration on the various employees who rear the boy for her by proxy. The child’s father (Liam Cunningham, who “Game of Thrones” fans will better recognize by the name of Davos Seaworth), is an assistant on President Wilson’s staff, and is often away in Versailles working on the peace treaty that would ultimately end the war. On the rare evenings during which he returns home, the boy’s father is sometimes accompanied by a widower politician played by Robert Pattinson (a glorified cameo during which he willfully melts into the musty furnishings of Corbet’s sets).

The film seldom ventures outside of the boy’s house, pushing deeper and deeper into the opaque void of its protagonist’s malleable young mind. Corbet’s doggedly anti-dramatic script (co-written by his partner, Mona Fastvold) stakes the boy’s future on a debate between nature vs. nurture in which neither side ever seems to earn a clear advantage. Sweet, whose character is outwardly defined by a blank expression and a head of flowing blond hair (he’s often confused for a girl), delivers a tense performance that often feels modeled after his director’s seething turns in “Simon Killer” and “Funny Games.” You almost never know what the kid is thinking, but it’s telling that his moments of paranoid anxiety are by far his most visceral — an early nightmare sequence suggests that Corbet has a natural talent for eerie visual abstractions.

Read More: Brady Corbet and Mona Fastvold Talk Moody Sundance Discovery ‘The Sleepwalker

He also has a natural talent for the strain of winking, comically exaggerated gravitas that makes it tempting to suspect that hyper-severe auteurs like Haneke and von Trier are actually just taking the piss. Ostentatiously divided into five sections (an overture, three ‘Tantrums,’ and a coda), and refusing to speak the boy’s name until late in the film (so that viewers might tie themselves into knots trying to work out which fascist leader the kid will grow up to become), “The Childhood of a Leader” pits the intensity of its context against the banality of its incident.

The first two Tantrums are all portent and no plot; the most exciting thing that happens is when the boy paws at the breast of his pretty young French tutor (“Nymphomaniac” ingenue Stacy Martin). There’s much talk of language skills, and fluency becomes its own kind of power, but how that factors into Corbet’s grand design is no better explicated than the fact that Sweet’s character is exclusively raised by hired help, or the tidbit that his dad had been hoping for a daughter. And yet, the raw anxiety of Corbet’s vision only grows more palpable as Sweet retreats further from our understanding; by the time the film reveals itself to be more of a mind-fuck than a historical drama, you’re too rattled to feel tricked.

On one hand, the indelibly disorienting final scene feels like a hit from behind; on the other, it feels as though the film has been building to it from the start. Either way, “The Childhood of a Leader” leaves behind a squall of unanswered questions that linger in the mind long after it squelches to a finish. Is this a story about the merits of Freudian psychology, or its limitations? Is it about the making of a monster, or is its distance meant to mock the thinking that sociopaths can be so easily explained? Early in the first Tantrum, Pattinson’s character lifts a quote that novelist John Fowles would ultimately coin in regards to the Holocaust: “That was the tragedy. Not that one man has the courage to be evil, but that so many have not the courage to be good.” Other than Corbet’s promise, that sentiment may be the film’s one clear takeaway: Whether born or raised, leaders are only as powerful as the people who neglect to stop them.

Grade: B+

The Childhood of a Leader” plays at BAMcinemaFest on June 23rd. It opens in theaters and on VOD on July 22nd.

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Related storiesReview: Ti West's 'In A Valley Of Violence' Is A Western 'John Wick,' But Mostly Shoots Blanks12 Must-See Films at BAMCinemaFest 2016'The Childhood of a Leader' Trailer: Robert Pattinson Toplines Brady Corbet's Period Directorial Debut »

- David Ehrlich

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Dakota Johnson, Michel Hazanavicius titles head to Italy

13 June 2016 5:04 AM, PDT | ScreenDaily | See recent ScreenDaily news »

Exclusive: Rome-based distributor Cinema pre-bought six new titles at Cannes.

Italian distribution veteran Valerio De Paolis may have completed the sale of his company Bim to Wild Bunch two years ago but he shows no intention of retiring on the proceeds from the deal.

The distributor has announced a slew of Cannes acquisitions for his burgeoning Rome-based distribution label Cinema.

Pre-buys at Cannes included David Robert Mitchell’s La-set thriller Under The Silver Lake; Michel Hazanavicius’s 1960s-set Jean-Luc Godard tribute Redoubtable from Wild Bunch and Aki Kaurismaki’s The Other Side Of Hope from The Match Factory.

“I love »

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Dakota Johnson, Michel Hazanavicus titles head to Italy

13 June 2016 5:04 AM, PDT | ScreenDaily | See recent ScreenDaily news »

Exclusive: Rome-based distributor Cinema pre-bought six new titles at Cannes.

Italian distribution veteran Valerio De Paolis may have completed the sale of his company Bim to Wild Bunch two years ago but he shows no intention of retiring on the proceeds from the deal.

The distributor has announced a slew of Cannes acquisitions for his burgeoning Rome-based distribution label Cinema.

Pre-buys at Cannes included David Robert Mitchell’s La-set thriller Under The Silver Lake; Michel Hazanavicius’s 1960s-set Jean-Luc Godard tribute Redoubtable from Wild Bunch and Aki Kaurismaki’s The Other Side Of Hope from The Match Factory.

“I love »

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Dakota Johnson, Michel Hazanavicus titles head to Italy with Valerio De Paolis' Cinema

13 June 2016 5:04 AM, PDT | ScreenDaily | See recent ScreenDaily news »

Exclusive: Rome-based distributor pre-bought six new titles at Cannes.

Italian distribution veteran Valerio De Paolis may have completed the sale of his company Bim to Wild Bunch two years ago but he shows no intention of retiring on the proceeds from the deal.

The distributor has announced a slew of Cannes acquisitions for his burgeoning Rome-based distribution label Cinema.

Pre-buys at Cannes included David Robert Mitchell’s La-set thriller Under The Silver Lake; Michel Hazanavicius’s 1960s-set Jean-Luc Godard tribute Redoubtable from Wild Bunch and Aki Kaurismaki’s The Other Side Of Hope from The Match Factory.

“I love Godard »

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Casting Updates for Michael Haneke’s ‘Happy End’ and Steven Spielberg’s ‘Ready Player One’

6 June 2016 1:00 PM, PDT | The Film Stage | See recent The Film Stage news »

Whether you think he’s a titan of contemporary art cinema or a moralizing hack, Michael Haneke will dominate much of 2017’s cinematic discourse with his new feature, Happy End. Earlier reports were vague, albeit intriguing, telling us the Isabelle Huppert– and Jean-Louis Trintignant-led picture will concern a “bourgeois, European family, blind to what is going on in the wider world around them,” specifically with regard to Europe’s migrant crisis.

So said Huppert at this year’s Cannes Film Festival:

“‘But you can imagine what a Michael Haneke film called Happy Ending will be like. You can imagine there will be a certain irony, a certain…’ – she hesitates playfully, choosing her words – ‘clear-sightedness. For me, the title says everything about how lucidly Haneke sees the world.’ Apparently it’s about immigration, I hazard. ‘Apparently. That’s not all there is to it. We’ll see.'”

Casting has »

- Nick Newman

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Mathieu Kassovitz Joins Michael Haneke’s ‘Happy End’

31 May 2016 6:02 AM, PDT | The Playlist | See recent The Playlist news »

While the summer movie season can quickly induce cynicism and weariness as one blockbuster after another arrives to dull the senses, you can take comfort in knowing that more artistically inclined filmmakers are busy at work. And one of the more exciting productions gearing up is Michael Haneke‘s new film, “Happy End,” which has just […]

The post Mathieu Kassovitz Joins Michael Haneke’s ‘Happy End’ appeared first on The Playlist. »

- Kevin Jagernauth

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Interview: Paul Schrader & Matthew Wilder Talk ‘Dog Eat Dog,’ Praise From Michael Haneke & Pushing The Edge Of Final Cut

27 May 2016 8:53 AM, PDT | The Playlist | See recent The Playlist news »

It’s a weekend night at the Cannes Film Festival. My schedule informs me that I am supposed to meet Matthew Wilder, screenwriter of Paul Schrader‘s “Dog Eat Dog,” at the Carlton Hotel for drinks. As I make my way to the entrance, I can’t help but notice the glitz and glamour scene going on in […]

The post Interview: Paul Schrader & Matthew Wilder Talk ‘Dog Eat Dog,’ Praise From Michael Haneke & Pushing The Edge Of Final Cut appeared first on The Playlist. »

- Jordan Ruimy

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Hollywood Take Note: Here Are 16 Women Who Dominated the Cannes Film Festival

25 May 2016 5:08 AM, PDT | Thompson on Hollywood | See recent Thompson on Hollywood news »

Forget the Cannes jury awards. This year, the most famous film festival in the world showcased something much bigger than a couple of prize-winners: Women filmmakers and actors at the top of their game.

It was hard to miss how much the women before and behind the camera were front and center, dominating the conversation in Cannes. More of the Official Selection films were focused on women than ever before. And a new kind of protagonist emerged at Cannes 2016. She’s independent, strong, often androgynous, and not defined by her relationships with men.

Hollywood producers, executives and filmmakers, take note. This is how it can be done.

Check out the fabulous women of Cannes 2016.

Isabelle Huppert

In Paul Verhoeven’s provocative thriller “Elle,” Isabelle Huppert plays a videogame entrepreneur who refuses to allow her violent rape in her own home to ruin her life. She doesn’t miss a beat. She doesn’t call the cops. She changes the locks, gets an Std test,  buys pepper spray and learns how to use a gun. She’s a sophisticated, elegant, powerful, modern woman who lives alone, runs her own company, manipulates her family, has sex with whomever she fancies, and is free to do as she pleases.

At 63, Huppert believably plays a younger woman in her sexual prime, bringing all her experience to bear on the role, which was adapted from a French novel by an American screenwriter (David Birke) and then translated back into French when Huppert came aboard. She elevates the character into almost making sense. Typically, Verhoeven refuses to supply psychological underpinnings for what she does. But Huppert makes us believe. With critics and awards-savvy Sony Pictures Classics behind “Elle,” this commercial movie could wind up a North American hit this fall, a French Oscar nominee (if France submits it), and a Best Actress Oscar contender.

Kristen Stewart

Another independent woman is at the center of Olivier Assayas’ “Personal Shopper,” his second English-language film starring Stewart (Cesar-winner for “Clouds of Sils Maria”). She plays Maureen, who acquires fashionable clothes for a rich client, flits around Paris on a scooter, and reaches the people in her life via Skype and mobile. She’s trying to use her skills as a medium to communicate with her twin brother, who has recently died, when mysterious texts suddenly appear on her iPhone. “Who is this?” she asks. “Personal Shopper” tracks a lost and lonely soul who is disconnected from herself. As she tries on her client’s sexy costumes and figures out who is tracking her, she eventually finds her identity again.

Stewart had a good Cannes, showing her stripes not only in her roles in “Personal Shopper” and opener Woody Allen’s “Cafe Society,” but by deftly fielding, with finesse and poise, the many questions thrown at her during press conferences and interviews. She refused to be drawn into the Allen controversy (unlike co-star Blake Lively), wore flats when she could have worn heels, and explained why she likes working with intellectual directors like Assayas. She’s a smart career shaper with a rosy future who rather than conform to Hollywood demands, prefers to make her own choices on the world stage.

Maren Ade and Sandra Hüller

Father-daughter tension forms the backbone of two of the best films in Competition, Screen International’s critics’ poll winner “Toni Erdmann” and directing prize co-winner Cristian Mungiu’s “Graduation.”

German filmmaker Maren Ade‘s third feature is a generational comedy that pits a goofy father (Peter Simonischek) against his workaholic corporate strategist daughter Ines (Sandra Hüller). She’s a woman in a man’s world who thinks she doesn’t need feminism, who Ade sees as almost “a gender-neutral character.” After anxiously trying to prove herself to her male bosses, Ines eventually gets what her father is trying to tell her via his crazy antics and humor. She sees things more clearly, reconnects with him, and takes control of her own life.

Maria Dragus

The young Romanian star of Michael Haneke’s “The White Ribbon” shines in Mungiu’s “Graduation,” which sends a controlling father (Adrian Titieni) into a tailspin when his long-held post-graduation plans for his daughter (Dragus) go terribly awry. At the start of “Graduation,” the daughter’s rape sets in motion a series of revelations, compromises and ethical dilemmas as the father tries desperately to keep things on track. To her credit, his daughter refuses to go along with his schemes, stands up to him with strength and moral fortitude, and finally sets free her two protective parents from all their secrets and lies.

Andrea Arnold, Sasha Lane and Riley Keough British director Arnold took home the Cannes jury prize for the third time for her daring American road movie “American Honey” (A24), an empowering coming of age story starring unknown Sasha Lane, making Arnold three for three at the fest after 2006’s “Red Road” and 2009’s “Fish Tank.”

Critics adored the film, which was shaped by the American midwestern landscape as well as the editing room. Arnold’s final film was vastly different from its original script, turning toward the young woman finding her identity as its through-line—Shia Labeouf and Elvis Presley granddaughter Riley Keough (“Mad Max: Fury Road”) offered stalwart support— and was unlike anything else at Cannes this year.

Jodie Foster and Julia Roberts Foster likes bringing smart movies like “Money Monster” and “The Beaver” to Cannes—it’s a film festival for smart people, after all —and she introduced “Money Monster” star Julia Roberts to the Croisette, who walked up the red carpet with bare feet, reminding us all that she has nothing to prove. “We were thrilled for Julia,” Foster told me in our video interview. “George is so excited to show her Cannes, and wanted her to have that moment seeing that sea of photographers.”

Money Monster” was the perfect Cannes out-of-competition studio entry, an entertaining populist Wall Street/media critique for festival gala audiences, with major movie stars for the tapis rouge, press conference and junket for a European market launch. Not surprisingly, the actors are terrific: Clooney plays a glib financial TV guru held hostage by an angry victim of his bad advice (a surprisingly sympathetic Jack O’Connell), who fits him with a bomb vest as punishment. Roberts as Clooney’s producer beams the story live as everyone scrambles to come out of the crisis intact.

As a Hollywood movie star who pushed past conventional women’s roles, scoring four Oscar nominations and two wins (“The Accused,” “The Silence of the Lambs”) and has carried many commercial movies on her own (“Contact,” “Panic Room,” “Flight Plan”), Foster beefed up Roberts’ character to give her more purpose and dimension. In the original script she was more of a technician, but Foster turned her into a competent, strong, active producer who helps Clooney’s character find his strength and unravel the mystery.

Adèle Haenel

In Cannes regulars Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s “The Unknown Girl” (Sundance Selects), Haenel plays another gender-neutral character, an excellent, empathetic doctor who is not defined by her relationships or friends; she lives a solitary, monastic life devoted to the well-being of her patients. When she ignores a late-hour doorbell at her private practice and finds out from the police that the young woman was murdered nearby, the doctor embarks on a mission, against the wishes of many including the police, to identify the girl and inform her family of her death.

Kim Min-hee and Kim Tae-ri

With erotic mystery “The Handmaiden” (Amazon) great Korean auteur Park Chan-wook moved the Victorian setting of the novel “Fingersmith” to the 30s period when Japan occupied Korea. Told in two parts from two distinct points-of-view, the lushly mounted movie follows a rich Korean gentlewoman (star Kim Min-hee) and her maidservant (newcomer Kim Tae-ri) who not only fall lustily in love, but plot against their oppressive masters. Park has fashioned a luscious tale of sexual expression and female empowerment.

Elle Fanning

Nicolas Winding Refn’s “Neon Demon” also puts women front and center, led by Elle Fanning, who was 16 when she was cast, 17 when she shot the film, and is now 18. She plays a newcomer to the La fashion scene who discovers that starving models literally eat each other alive. In one memorable scene, when one x-ray known as the bionic woman (because she has altered so much of her body) throws up an eyeball, her best friend pops it into her own mouth. Refn said he wanted to make the women characters primary and the men secondary. While the movie was not a critical hit in Cannes and did not win any prizes, the stylishly transgressive genre exercise could become a smart-horror hit stateside when Amazon Studios releases it in June.

Adriana Ugarte and Emma Suárez These two superb Spanish actresses star as the young and older incarnations of Pedro Almodóvar’s latest female creation, “Julieta” (Sony Pictures Classics). The Spanish auteur’s adaptation of three Alice Munro stories was originally going to star Meryl Streep in an English-language version, in which she would have used makeup to play both roles. This way the movie takes on a decidedly Hitchcockian tone, as the very blonde young Julieta (Ugarte) enjoys mad sex with a stranger on a train, while the older and soberer Julieta (Suárez) is less open, prey to feelings of loss and regret. Why is she estranged from her daughter? What went wrong the day her husband went fishing in the face of an impending storm? This twisted family saga unfolds in cinematic ways that could only come from Almodóvar. Related storiesTop Women Cinematographers Reveal 7 Best Tips for Career SuccessCannes Film Festival Awards 2016Cannes Today: New Talent Emerges »

- Anne Thompson

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