IFI Head of Cinema Programming David O’Mahony checks in from Cannes 2017 for one last time as the end looms close, and the awards are about to be announced.
With the award ceremony hours away there is just time to assess the best films I caught during the final days of Cannes 2017…
Benny and Josh Safdie’s Good Time adds a jolt of kinetic energy to a familiar tale of a heist gone awry and boasts a committed and wholly convincing performance from Robert Pattinson who must surely be in contention for a Best Actor prize this evening.
Competition entry A Gentle Creature from Sergei Loznitsa is a brilliantly sustained Kafka-esque nightmare about a woman trying to uncover her incarcerated husband’s whereabouts in a grim prison facility. With relentless conviction Loznitsa plunges us into a terrifying world of bureaucratic obfuscation and drunken fecklessness; the film serves as an interesting companion piece to Loveless, the other indictment of contemporary Russian society playing in the main competition.
Fatih Akin returns to political thriller territory with In the Fade, which sees Diane Kruger battling for justice when her husband and son are killed in a racially-motivated bomb blast. Kruger is getting a lot of attention for her performance in this highly charged and topical film.
And lastly Lynn Ramsey’s bruisingly violent You were Never Really Here in which Joachim Phoenix plays an ex-army private contractor hired to rescue a politician’s daughter from a sex ring. There are shades of Taxi Driver and Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive in this dark, fragmented and brilliantly realised psychological thriller which has another of Johnny Greenwood’s wonderfully angular scores.
Predicting the winners this year is proving tricky; consensus seems to be gathering around 120 Beats Per Minute and it is certainly an important issue-based work whose subject will appeal to jury president Almodovar, but with excellent titles such as Loveless, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Happy End and most recently Lynn Ramsey’s astonishing You Were Never Really Here, it is impossible to call the victor. I’m rooting for Lanthimos.
Read more from David O’Mahony’s time at Cannes 2017.
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