5 Cannes Films To Watch


If you’re a devotee of all things cinematic, I dare you not to shed at least one tear of joy over how marvellously brilliant this year’s Cannes festival line-up has been. The world’s economy may be falling headlong into the abyss but when it comes to film, we can all stand tall with a serene smile on our face, and marvel at the beauty of man’s creativity. There have been all manner of themes for us to ponder over this year, with decadence and its consequences playing a recurring role.


Shock horror! Who would have thought Hollywood would still be so Victorian when it came to the subject of homosexuality? Well, that is why director Steven Soderbergh had to take his lavish biopic of America’s late king of camp crooning to HBO. Starring Michael Douglas as Liberace, complete with diamond encrusted shorts, and Matt Damon as his long-time lover Scott Thorson, Behind The Candelabra is a film where production values are taken to an entirely new level. From start to finish it is packed full of earth shattering orgasms, vintage champagne, diamonds in every corner and stretched limos that would put even the most ostentatious Russian Oligarch to shame.


The complete antithesis to all the glitz and glamour of Behind The Candelabra, Amat Escalante’s Heli is a dark tale of drug abuse, family breakdown and organised crime. One of the first proper films to focus on the heartache of Mexico’s underclass, Escalante has opened up a window into the hellish reality of what life is really like at the bottom of the social pile. If you’ve ever read Dante’s Inferno, then you will get a good idea of how frightening this film is. Heli doesn’t just gently invite you to share the pain of its characters, it unashamedly demands it. Escalante’s direction is the key to this films disturbing beauty, with slow burning scenes that eventually jump out and grab you by the throat.


Film critics are strange animals, first they want some intelligent piece of art cinema, then a second later they’ll want something lavishly decadent. We all knew that The Great Gatsby was going to be a film that critics either loved or despised. But let’s be honest, this period drama, set in a thoroughly fun loving age of debauchery and over consumption, is one of the best pieces of cinematic escapism out there. All the actors are beautiful, the production values are through the roof, the dialogue is exciting enough to keep you entertained throughout and at its foundation, the whole theme of too much partying and devotion to materialism will lead to a miserable end, is very clever indeed. Don’t be mistaken, the dual joy and misery of The Great Gatsby will stay with you for a very long time.


Ryan Gosling has the ability to turn a happily married woman into a quivering mess of hormones and sexual angst and to turn a confidently heterosexual man gay, with his rugged good looks and perfectly toned body. Gosling doesn’t disappoint in this breathtaking and violent thriller set in Bangkok amongst a group of American expats. Starring alongside Kristin Scott Thomas and Tom Burke, Only God Forgives stands out from the crowd, particularly when it comes to oddly mesmeric violence, which is executed with such precision that it comes out from the screen, holds you by the cheeks and says “watch this!” director Nicolas Winding Refn has knocked Quentin Tarantino off his throne as the king of artistic violence.


This new offering by the irascible Cohen brothers gives you a big philosophical slap in the face. Inside Llewyn Davis is a dark comedy, set in the 1960’s New York folk scene. The protagonist Llewyn played by the equally irascible Oscar Isaac is a talented bum, with a mind as broad as Da Vinci, yet all the luck of Woody Allen in one of most self-deprecatory roles. A big screen meditation on the rise of modernity, the fragile respectability of counter-culture and the mediocrity that comes with it, Inside Llewyn Davis will make you feel like a loser, but package it in intelligent comedy, so the final realisation won’t feel too bad.

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