Every year the Cannes International Film Festival brings to our attention a number of films that go on to dominate the critical discussion for much of the following 12 months. In 2019, Bong Joon-Ho’s Parasite has been crowned the winner of the festival’s most coveted award the Palme d’Or, joining the likes of Shoplifters, The Square and I, Daniel Blake as the topic of many a film-centred discussion in recent years. But it’s not only the Palme d’Or winner that will go on to be an instantly recognisable critical hit, as evidenced by the success of Cannes debutantes like You Were Never Really Here, The Handmaiden and Carol in the past half a decade. And coming out of Cannes 2019, there are more than a handful of films worthy of joining them as noteworthy triumphs of cinema regardless of their festival success or lack there of. In this list, we’ve accumulated the thoughts of critics and industry professionals alike to formulate this: the Top 10 Most Exciting Movies Coming Out of Cannes 2019 (in no particular order).
Have an opinion? Let us know about it in the comments!
1. The Lighthouse
Director: Robert Eggers
Screenwriters: Max Eggers, Robert Eggers
Starring: Willem Dafoe, Robert Pattinson
This 2nd feature from The Witch (2015) director Robert Eggers landed reputable independent film distributors A24 their first award at Cannes, earning the Critics Week Award for Best Film. The picture, shot on 35mm black and white film stock and presented in academy ratio to make it feel as much like a film from pre-1940 as possible, stars Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson as an ageing lighthouse keeper and his young prodigy, Eric Kohn of IndieWire describing it as a “gripping black-and-white nautical psychodrama”.
2. A Hidden Life
Director: Terrence Malick
Screenwriter: Terrence Malick
Starring: August Diehl, Valerie Pachner, Michael Nyqvist, Matthias Schoenaerts, Bruno Ganz
A new religious epic from one of the most enigmatic but thought-provoking filmmakers on the planet, A Hidden Life has, according to Owen Gleiberman of Variety, seen The Thin Red Line and Badlands director Terrence Malick return “to the filmmaking majesty he showed in The Tree of Life“. Which, to anyone in the know, is an incredibly exciting prospect.
3. Matthias et Maxime (Matthias & Maxime)
Director: Xavier Dolan
Screenwriter: Xavier Dolan
Starring: Harris Dickinson, Xavier Dolan, Anne Dorval, Gabriel D’Almeida Freitas, Catherine Brunet
Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian described the latest melodrama from French-Canadian auteur Xavier Dolan as “a film swept along by rattling dialogue and simmering tensions”, indicating that one of the most prominent icons of French language cinema has perhaps rekindled his unique purpose in the aftermath of his much less popular English-language venture The Death & Life of John F. Donovan (which has still yet to find a release despite debuting at festivals over a year ago and featuring a cast including Natalie Portman and ‘Game of Thrones’ star Kit Harrington). This tale of two people who grow closer than just friends reportedly paints a unique picture of 20-something life, with Dolan’s trustworthy eye for honesty amongst more mystical themes being an ever-present once again.
4. Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Screenwriter: Quentin Tarantino
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Dakota Fanning, Al Pacino, Luke Perry, Damian Lewis, Emile Hirsch, Timothy Olyphant, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Lena Dunham
It has been 4 long years since Quentin Tarantino’s last film hit the big screen, the somewhat divisive The Hateful Eight failing to capture the imaginations of as many Tarantino fans as his previous hits, and when it was revealed that his latest release would circle the famed Manson Murders of the late 60s, the filmmaker was once again met with a mixed reaction. After all, Tarantino isn’t one for subtlety. Barbara Scharres of rogerebert.com has, however, taken Tarantino in his stride, describing his latest effort as follows: “Despite a trademark misogynist angle that has to be mentioned, it’s an in-your-face stunner that unleashes spectacularly funny mayhem.”
5. Sorry We Missed You
Director: Ken Loach
Screenwriter: Paul Laverty
Starring: Kris Hitchen, Debbie Honeywood, Rhys Stone, Katie Proctor
The iconic director of some of British cinema’s greatest socially conscious films, Ken Loach, returned to Cannes in 2019 following award wins for The Wind That Shakes the Barley and I, Daniel Blake previously, the now 82 year old director of Kes keeping his attention with the welfare state for Sorry We Missed You, a film that Geoffrey Macnab of The Independent described as “utterly absorbing” and a project that “captures brilliantly the alienation and existential anguish that its main characters feel”.