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Cannes 2017. Funny Games—Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Killing of a Sacred Deer”

2 hours ago

Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos has a knack for creating hermetic, bleakly hilarious worlds. Returning to the Croisette this year with the The Killing of a Sacred Deer (his second film in English after The Lobster, which won the Grand Jury Prize in 2015), co-written with longtime collaborator Efthymis Filippou, Lanthimos renders a twisted suburban nightmare with the stuff of Hellenic myth. It's assaultive and deeply unpleasant, and nothing less than his Funny Games.On paper, that’s a supremely promising conceit—the visceral impact of Haneke’s brilliant assault refracted through Lanthimos’ distinct, absurdist sensibility. For all its potential, however, there’s an odd lack of urgency to the first hour, centered on the daily rhythms of Steven, a cardiologist and surgeon played by Colin Farrell (here jettisoning the memorable paunch of The Lobster). He talks with colleagues, does his daily rounds at the hospital, and goes home to his ophthalmologist »

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Cannes 2017. Caged In—Sofia Coppola's “The Beguiled”

13 hours ago

What do we mean when we say that a filmmaker is “limited”? Is it that their talents are relatively confined? Or is it that because of their particular sensibilities, they choose to make films within a specific arena? Perhaps the better question is: How much does that matter? A filmmaker like Hong Sang-soo, for example—at Cannes this year with both The Day After and Claire's Camera—could certainly be described as “limited” in some respects; but he still produces some of the most consistent and interesting work in the contemporary cinematic landscape. It can't be denied, though, that it's always exciting when filmmakers push themselves and make films squarely outside their comfort zones, which could be said of Sofia Coppola who returns to Cannes this year with The Beguiled. Adapted from Thomas P. Cullinan’s gothic novel A Painted Devil as well as the original 1971 movie adaptation by Don Siegel, »

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Cannes 2017. Through a Genre Darkly—Lynne Ramsay's "You Were Never Really Here"

19 hours ago

Screening at the very end of the Cannes Film Festival's competition, and rumored to have been finished the very week of its premiere, Scottish director Lynne Ramsay’s adaptation of Jonathan Ames’s novel You Were Never Really Here is a genre film so fiercely empathetic and brutally honed that its harsh impulse seems precariously mysterious. A bearded, dark-eyed Joaquin Phoenix plays a New York mercenary hired through shady means to retrieve lost girls and sex slaves, something he does with brute efficiently in baggy jeans and bulky hoody, armed only with a store-bought hammer and singular purpose. Quick flashes of traumatic memories—a technique so anarchronistic as to seem surprisingly lazy—detail the scars of the man’s psyche, damaged from abuse as a child and time both in the military and FBI—pain that rears itself in multiple flirtations with suicide throughout the picture. Utilizing his skillset for a dark but righteous purpose, »

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Cannes 2017. Russia's Prison System—Sergei Loznitsa's "A Gentle Creature"

20 hours ago

Deftly weaving between politically ambitious documentary projects and brooding, chunky dramas exploring the malignant side of Russian society, Ukraianian director Sergei Loznitsa follows Austerlitz, last year’s documentary on concentration camp tourism, with the fictional A Gentle Creature, an impressively morose, dense, and totalizing immersion into the dehumanizing absurdity of the Russian prison system. But in fact we don’t see anything of the inside of a prison in A Gentle Creature, for while the goal of the unnamed, middle-aged heroine (Vasilina Makovtseva) is to visit her incarcerated husband—a visit inspired mainly because a care package was sent back to her with no explanation as to its rejection—her fruitless journey to the prison town is a Hogarthian roundelay of indifferent, dismissive or abusive personnel and exploitative locals. Makovtseva’s maze-like path through a social microcosm (and ecosystem) of functionaries, leeches and profiteers is an ordeal that begins about »

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Cannes 2017. Awards

20 hours ago

The SquareIN Competition

Palme d'Or: The Square directed by Ruben Östlund (read our review)Grand Prix: 120 Beats Per Minute directed by Robin Campillo (read our review)Jury Prize: Loveless by Andrey Zvyagintsev (read our review)Best Director: Sofia Coppola (read our review)Best Actor: Joaquin Phoenix for You Were Never Really HereBest Actress: Diane Kruger for In the FadeBest Scenario: Yorgos Lanthimos for The Killing of A Sacred Deer (read our review) and Lynne Ramsay for You Were Never Really Here70th Anniversary Prize: Nicole KidmanUN Certain REGARDLerd (A Man of Integrity) directed by Mohammad RassoulofPrix d'interpretation feminine: Jasmine Trinca for FortunataPrix de la Poésie du Cinéma: Barbara directed by Mathieu AmalricPrix de la mise en scène: Taylor Sheridan for Wind RiverJury Prize: April's Daughters directed by Michel FrancoCAMERA D'ORJeune Femme directed by Léonor SerrailleCRITICS' WEEKNespresso Grand Prize: Makala directed by Emmanuel GrasGan Foundation Prize and France 4 Visionary Award: Gabriel »

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