Famous for its artistic and boundary-pushing movies, the Cannes Film Festival is a dream come true for serious cinema lovers. Its international audiences revere filmmaking – black-tie formal dress is required to attend every premiere screening – and viewers "boo" the movies they don’t like while cheering for ones they love with ten-minute standing ovations.
In May, Clementine Daily descended on the South of France for the 2016 Festival, and we returned happily full of French macarons, champagne, café au lait and great movie recommendations from all around the world. Here are our top five favorites we recommend catching in theaters once they hit U.S. soil.
1. Julieta (Spain)
This is a particularly accessible film for Director Pedro Almodóvar, previously known for female-centric super sexy fare like Tie Me Up Tie Me Down, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, and Talk to Her. A beautiful young woman falls in love on a train, marries her handsome Spanish seatmate, has a daughter…and then things begin to fall apart. The young and grown versions of Julieta are beautifully played by the two leading actresses, and the streets of Madrid and the Spanish seaside are seductively shot, popping with color.
2. Personal Shopper (France)
Written and directed by Olivier Assayas, this movie features Kristen Stewart as the personal shopper to a famous and demanding French model. We watch her shopping at Vionnet and Christian Louboutin and jetting around Paris on her scooter, with Chanel and Cartier bags hanging off the handlebars. But at its core, Personal Shopper is a psychological thriller, and Stewart is also a medium and ghost-hunter searching everywhere in Paris for signs of her recently deceased twin brother. The thriller moves quickly once Stewart starts secretly wearing the couture in her boss’ closet, obtains a secret admirer turned stalker, and gets entangled in a murder.
3. Elle (France)
Isabelle Hubert is mesmerizing as a successful businesswomen who gets revenge on the attacker who raped her in her home. Early in the film, during an argument with one of her employees, she asserts boldly, “I’m the boss” – and she means it for the entirety of the plot. A thriller that’s also a black comedy, Elle includes a welcome amount of humor and levity. It’s everything cinema lovers hope for from a Cannes movie – provocative, controversial and flawlessly French, with brilliant direction by Paul Verhoeven of Basic Instinct.
4. Neon Demon (USA)
Neon Demon is loud, gorgeous and cool. The music is fantastic, as is the cast – particularly lead actress Elle Fanning, who exudes youth and beauty from her blue doe eyes as the new-in-town "next big thing" on the modeling scene, with cameos by Christina Hendricks and Keanu Reeves. The horror movie takes place inside a rave party in the middle of the Hollywood Hills. It’s not quite as mainstream as Drive, but Director Nicolas Winding Refn still takes us on another pretty fun ride.
5. Kitty (USA)
Chloe Sevigny made her directorial debut at Cannes with short film Kitty, which was the only U.S. movie in the Critics' Week Shorts Competition and will launch on Refinery29 this fall. Adapted from a short story, it's a beautiful, soft and delightfully creepy film about a little girl who dreams of becoming a kitten and (maybe?) finds herself transformed into one. (Bonus points to Sevigny for being so generous with her time, giving a wonderfully inspiring talk to film students at the American Pavilion. She was vulnerable and honest about how long it took her to get the courage to finally start directing, plus gorgeous in the Cinderella-style dresses she wore throughout the Festival).
p.s. If you'd rather snuggle up for some movie-watching at home, ASAP, try these five documentaries about iconic women.