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As the Cannes Film Festival nears its end, The Hollywood Reporter‘s chief film critic Todd McCarthy is weighing in on the highlights and disappointments of the 68th annual fest. In a sit-down interview, McCarthy revealed that it was a “weak year” for most countries that were represented in the Cannes film selection.
“The festival put all of its chips on French cinema,” he said. “which was an indication that they really were strong on it and believed in it, and that was not paid off. All the French films were very disappointing.”
McCarthy highlighted Todd Haynes‘ Carol as the strongest U.S. entry, adding that it “will be heard from later down the line this year.” In comparison, he pointed to Gus Van Sant‘s The Sea of Trees, which was met with a harsh reception following its screening, as “one of the biggest disasters of the festival.”
“I haven’t run into one person who has wanted to defend the film,” McCarthy noted. “Usually … popular films have at least one person that’ll come out strongly. I haven’t met that person yet.”
In addition to the festival’s focus on French films, he commented on the surge of English-language films directed by foreign filmmakers, choosing Paolo Sorrentino‘s Youth (starring Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel) as one of his favorite films screened this year. “It’s a voluptuous, stunningly sensual film,” he said. “beautiful to watch, funny, interesting.” Among other notable contenders were Denis Villeneuve‘s Sicario and Hungarian director Laszlo Nemes‘ Son of Saul.
Though awards season is still months away, McCarthy proposed that festival standouts Carol and Youth would be considered in the upcoming awards race, also adding that Pixar’s Inside Out, which screened out of competition, will be heard from as well.
“It’s incredibly imaginative. I think it’s gonna be an enormous hit,” he shared about the film. “I think it really puts Pixar back on track after a couple of disappointing films — Brave and Monsters University. It’s a major entry from Pixar.”
To hear more of McCarthy’s opinions on the festival’s best and worst entries, watch the video below.
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