Celluloid Diaries: What I saw in Cannes this year

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

What I saw in Cannes this year


sicario benicio del toro


Since Enemy, Denis Villeneuve is my new favorite director. In Sicario, he tackles the Mexican cartels with realism, intensity, and emotional depth. The result is a hard action thriller that leaves you feeling bewildered and vulnerable.

love gaspar noe


Everyone in Cannes hated Gaspar Noé's latest. I can see why: Love is repetitive and too long, some of the dialogue is badly written, and the film contains too many lousy self-referencing jokes and unnecessary 3D sex scenes. Yet no one talks about the beautiful love story and the smart insights about love and relationships in general. Despite its misses, Love is a fascinating viewing experience that sticks long after it's over.

one and two

One and Two

Imagine a mix between X-men and The Village, told in a realistic and sober way. That's One and Two. The story may be too slow-moving for some, but its beauty and refinement are undeniable.

carol cate blanchett


Based on Patricia Highsmith's novel The Price of Salt, Carol is the beautifully-lensed portrayal of two women in the mid-twentieth century who fall in love with each other while dealing with the societal problems that ensue. Carol could have had some of the best and most ravaging endings in recent years (think: Brief Encounter), but, sadly, closes on a positive and thus more ordinary note. Also, check out Carter Burwell's amazing soundtrack (it's one of this year's best).

my golden years

My Golden Years (Trois Souvenirs de ma Jeuneusse)

My Golden Years is a delicate French coming-of-age story with charming young talent. I just regret Mathieu Almaric's poor performance and the look-into-the-camera scenes.



This British werewolf movie takes place almost entirely on a train. Admittedly, the story is predictable and the werewolves look goofy in close-up, but Howl is a notch up compared to many other genre movies. It's huge fun. And, in the dark, the werewolves – looking like demons with their glowing eyes and uncanny movements – are downright creepy.

green room jeremy saulnier

Green Room

After witnessing a crime, the members of a band find themselves trapped in a secluded venue. Green Room is an unpretentious, straightforward, and suspenseful take on the survival genre from the hand of Jeremy Saulnier (Blue Ruin). Saulnier's distinctive style is what really makes this movie stand out.

Just good

10 days in a madhouse

10 Days in a Madhouse

Based on Nellie Bly's book by the same name, 10 Days in a Madhouse is the true story of a journalist who feigns mental illness to go undercover in an insane asylum to expose abuse. I saw an unfinished version of 10 Days in a Madhouse, so it's difficult to say how much of the movie will improve in the future. Still, despite this being rough around the edges, the story kept me interested all the way through.

cherry tree movie

Cherry Tree

David Keating tackles exactly the same theme as in Wake Wood (the unwillingness to accept the death of those we love), but this time, the result is a fun midnight movie (albeit unintentionally). Cherry Tree is lovable teenage witch horror that's a little silly at times, but that mainly surprises by being darker and gorier than what we're used to. And I absolutely loved the centipedes crawling all over the place.

the pack

The Pack

A pack of feral dogs infiltrates an isolated farmhouse to attack a family. All the genre cliches are present, but overall The Pack was a fun, polished watch. In case you're wondering, this is NOT a remake of the 1977 movie by the same name. In fact, it's much more reminiscent of Burning Bright (2010, Carlos Brooks) in which a family is trapped inside a house with a ravenous tiger.

last shift

Last Shift

Last Shift is repetitive and contrived, but the scares and ghostly apparitions are efficient. Some people even left the screening because it was too scary.

martyrs remake


It will probably offend many of you that I preferred the remake of Martyrs over the original. The over-the-top violence and bloody mess of the French film made it hard to concentrate on the story. In the remake, however, the balance is just right. Just a pity they changed the ending.


Rams (Hrútar) 

When some sheep in an Icelandic farming valley show signs of BSE, the veterinary authorities decree that all sheep must be destroyed. Two brothers that haven't spoken to each other for a long time, reunite to save the sheep. Rams is not funny nor touching enough to either be a comedy or a drama, but it offers several cute scenes and an interesting view on rural life in Iceland.


violent shit

Violent Shit: the Movie

This is a follow-up to Andreas Schnaas' Violent Shit trilogy (of which the third installment – Infantry of Doom – was unsettling). This time, it's not Schnaas, but Italian director, Luigi Pastore, who gives life to Karl the Butcher. The result is a reinvention of amateurism. Violent Shit does everything wrong. You can't do worse than this one. I'd almost recommend Violent Shit: The Movie as a curiosity and to stretch your boundaries of bad taste.

medusa movie


This story about a mythology professor who finds a mirror that can summon Medusa is another example of amateurism. However, the presence of the cat made it all bearable.

roar tigers of the sundarbans

Roar: Tigers of the Sundarbans

If you steal a white baby tiger, all the animals of the forest will turn against you. That's the idea of this Hindi adventure film. It's impossible not to compare Roar: Tigers of the Sundarbans with the cheesiness of The Asylum, but the attack scenes are fun and the animals stunning.



An animal attack movie with polar bears is quite original, but that's about the only thing that Unnatural has to offer. It looks horribly cheap and the bear is hardly visible. It does have some name actors, though.

ryuzo and the seven henchmen

Ryuzo and the Seven Henchmen

What happened to the once talented Takeshi Kitano? Ryuzo and the Seven Henchmen is nothing more than a portrait of farting yakuzas.

grief of others

The Grief of Others

Based on the novel by Leah Hager Cohen, The Grief of Others proves that by trying to be too realistic you become fake. I left after an hour. Maybe the film gets better after that.


  1. Howl sounds like fun. The Village was really disappointing so I will look for One and Two.

  2. I'm really looking forward to seeing "Carol." Its mildly positive ending (based on the book) actually represents an important milestone in the literary representation of lesbianism -- until this novel in the early 1950s, it was an unwritten rule that all lesbian stories had to have an unhappy ending so that the women were "properly punished" for their deviance. Punishment usually consisted of heartbreak, death for one or both women, or one woman running back to men and heterosexuality. Lesbians never got to live together "happily ever after."

  3. I love Cate Blanchett so I would definitely see Carol.

  4. A movie named 'Violent Shit' being terrible? Who'd have thought? :)

    And I wasn't a big fan of X-Men or the Village, so maybe the combining of the two makes them better?

  5. I've not seen any of these. Not much of a movie goer.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

  6. Cate Blanchett vind ik een hele goede actrice, films met haar mag ik dan ook graag zien.

  7. These all sound quite fascinating - you even make the bad ones sound interesting. I'd really like to see Howl, Green Room, and 10 Days in a Madhouse. I think I'll take a pass on Violent Shit though. What a name! Hahaha!

  8. A few of those movies like Howl look like they can be fun if not taken seriously. I recently watched a French film with my husband, a coming of age one about lesbians, and while I can't remember the name of it, it's stuck in my head.

  9. What a nice list. Thanks for sharing. Something to think about when I have vacation.

  10. Great shares here, Vanessa! Thank you so much. :)

  11. Great shares here, Vanessa! Thank you so much. :)

  12. You squeezed a lot into your stay! Sounds like "shit" is the operative word of that one title. Sounds like Roar would have a good message for kids, hopefully it isn't too scary.

  13. Wow, you have really seen a lot of movies. I will have to check out some of them. Thank you for sharing.

  14. The poster for Howl looks intriguing. As for Love...what's a 3D sex scene? I don't think I've heard of that.

  15. Wow some of those look super spooky!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

  16. Too bad, in all of those, there wasn't a lot of awesomeness. The title Violent Shit is pretty bold. I'd almost want to see it, but only if you recommended it. I definitely won't waste my time or money on that Shit.

  17. As always, thanks for another excellent summary of movie marvels. :) I'm think Howl, Green Room,10 Days in a Madhouse, and Carol are Go-See options. The rest? Ummm. X

  18. Great summary. Now I've got some new movies to look out for.

  19. It sounds like you saw a ton of movies at Cannes this year. One and Two intrigues me, and I love how they wrote Howl with the moon in the O. That's a shame Medusa wasn't better. The premise sounds rather good.

  20. You had a great week of movies! Based on the descriptions, I'd be most interested in Carol. And I'll look forward to that soundtrack!

  21. thanks for this testimonial. as a film lover I'm always interested to read this kind of stuff.

  22. Thanks for the great review Vanessa. We are so glad you enjoyed the movie. 10 DAYS IN A MADHOUSE has been a labor of love for hundreds of artists over a several year journey. It has been a monumental effort to bring this epic period story to the screen. I am so excited to help spread the word of this most amazing woman, Nellie Bly, who Life Magazine just called one of 100 Women Who Changed The World.

    Concerning the "rough around the edges," look of the picture, the DCP (that's the hard drive and format of theatrical projection) of 10 DAYS IN A MADHOUSE was unfortunately a last minute replacement that I flew to Cannes in my luggage. The timing was so tight that there was no time for a precheck. Thus when the projector started rolling I immediately saw that there was a brightness shift 3 times brighter than the actual color and exposure timing of the final print. Yikes! This produced an array of noise that intruded into the enjoyment of the picture. This has now been corrected through Technicolor. In spite of this it was a successful screening. Again, thank you for coming to the movie at Cannes. It was such a beautiful experience. The only downside of Cannes is why would anyone want to ever leave. Best regards, Timothy Hines, director, 10 DAYS IN A MADHOUSE - THE NELLIE BLY STORY

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