If THR Critics Picked the Cannes Prizes…

3:42 PM 5/19/2018

by THR Staff

THR’s critics at the fest swooned for 'Cold War,' 'Burning' and 'Shoplifters,' and singled out two star-making lead performances. [Note: Cannes has rules against awarding multiple prizes to the same film; THR does not.]

Steven Yeun in Lee Chang-dong's 'Burning'
Steven Yeun in Lee Chang-dong's 'Burning'
Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival

  • Palme d’Or: 'Burning'

    Courtesy of Finecut

    South Korean filmmaker Lee Chang-dong's latest is a stunning, slow-building romantic thriller in which an aspiring writer and a rich hotshot become rivals for the affections of a charismatic young woman. In his review, Todd McCarthy writes: “Director Lee Chang-dong establishes and then sustains an almost trancelike state while still keeping a simple yet elusive story afloat. This is a beautifully crafted film loaded with glancing insights about class privilege, reverberating family legacies, creative confidence, self-invention, sexual jealousy, justice and revenge.”

  • Grand Prize (2nd place): 'Shoplifters'

    Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival

    A ragtag family of petty thieves provides an affectionate home for an abused little girl in Hirokazu Kore-eda’s tender family drama. The film is “studded with memorable characters and believable performances that quietly lead the viewer to reflect on societal values,” Deborah Young writes in her review. “Who better than Kore-eda, a director who whispers instead of shouts, is able to capture contradictions and issues though such a subtle, unforced style of storytelling?”

  • Jury Prize (3rd place): 'Cold War'

    Courtesy of Protagonist Pictures

    A companion piece to his foreign-language Oscar winner Ida, this is yet another exploration of Soviet-era angst from director Pawel Pawlikowski. Tracking the relationship between two Polish musicians as they shuttle back and forth across the Iron Curtain, from Warsaw to Paris and beyond, the film, writes Leslie Felperin, is “bittersweet and unbearably lovely, a sad ballad of two lovers who can't stand to stay apart but also sometimes can't stand each other.”

  • Best Director: Pawel Pawlikowski, 'Cold War'

    AP Images/Invision

    In his thrilling exploration of romantic disappointment, “Pawlikowski finds an elegant, melancholy way to resolve what might have been a formless and sprawling saga,” writes Leslie Felperin. “[The film is] achingly romantic but also wryly realistic about the destructive power of eros.”

  • Best Actor: Vincent Lacoste, 'Sorry Angel'

    Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival

    As a French college student in the heat of his queer awakening — and in love with a man who has AIDS — Lacoste gives what Jon Frosch, in his review, calls a “luminous and deeply nuanced” performance: “[His character] has youthful swagger in spades, but Lacoste shows us the neediness and yearning underneath.”

  • Best Actress: Joanna Kulig, 'Cold War'

    Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival

    Playing a fierce Polish beauty with a soulful voice, a stormy temperament and a doomed, decade-and-a-half-long romantic attachment to a fellow musician, Kulig has what Leslie Felperin calls in her review “a magnetism and presence that make an indelible impression.”

  • Best Screenplay: 'Shoplifters'

    Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival

    Kore-eda’s latest is, according to Deborah Young’s review, “a thoughtful addition to his parables about happy and unhappy families,” with a screenplay that “contrasts the frigid emotions of socially correct behavior with the warmth and happiness of a dishonest lower-class family, where money is tight and all methods of obtaining it are permissible.”

  • Palme de Bore: 'Girls of the Sun'

    Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival

    Eva Husson’s action drama about Kurdish female soldiers taking on ISIS fighters opts for what Jordan Mintzer calls in his review “an overtly manipulative, rather cheesy approach.” The film is “so unsubtle it winds up doing damage to its own worthy discourse,” he writes.