Critics, fans, and filmmakers alike anxiously awaited to hear which film would take home this year’s prized Palme d’Or from the Cannes Film Festival.
At the awards ceremony on Saturday night, it was revealed that this year’s Palme d’Or winner was Korean film Parasite from director Bon Joon-ho. The win was a shock and upset to many, who believed the frontrunner to be Pedro Almodóvar’s Pain and Glory. Another strong contender speculated by Cannes attendees was Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood.
The Lighthouse (starring Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe), which was a hot ticket in town, won the Critics’ Award. The films were hot this year, but the temperatures, not so much.
With cooler temperatures this year at the festival, it was more common to see jackets and long dresses than the lighter, more summer-y fare that one expects during the fest. A Chinese journalist, David, from Beijing, remarked: “this is the coldest the film festival has ever been, and I have been coming for five years.” The festival also saw heavy rains. Though, the downpours failed to dampen anyone’s spirits – only their shoes, a little bit.
Outdoor temperatures aside, the film offerings from directors around the globe were sizzling and clamored for in full force.
French film Les Misérables was one of the most buzzed-about titles. (It even tied for the Grand Prix at Cannes with Bacurau, a film from director Kleber Mendonça Filho.)
It was the first feature from Parisian director Ladj Ly. The director was spotted out and about a few days after the film’s premiere, looking celebratory, and rightfully reveling in his well-earned successes.
An icon of French cinema, Isabelle Huppert, came to Cannes with the film Frankie, the tale of an actress who has cancer. American writer-director Ira Sachs directed the film. Other film products of France included Jeanne, Matthias et Maxime, Portrait de la Jeune Fille en Feu, and more.
From farther away than the shores of France, there was Pain and Glory from the brilliant mind of Pedro Almodóvar, La Gomera from Romania, and the winning film, Korea’s Parasite, received a five-minute standing ovation after its premiere.
American offerings were plentiful, with the Elton John biopic, Rocketman, making a big splash early on in the festival. Elton was in attendance along the Croisette for the film’s premiere and its celebrations. At a party after the premiere, Elton and the actor who played him, Taron Egerton, took to the mic and piano together and belted out some of Elton’s greatest hits.
Then there was, of course, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, the much-celebrated and highly anticipated new film from director Quentin Tarantino. The film stirred a frenzy of excitement for festival-goers, with people clamoring to get into screenings and many being denied entry because there simply was no room.
The general consensus about the festival, on the whole, was mostly positive. Despite the outrage by some at French actor Alain Delon being awarded the Palme d’Honneur, most were pleased with the festival’s choices, such as film selection, and also the gorgeous festival poster this year featuring the late filmmaker Agnes Varda, who died earlier this year. (On the note of female filmmakers, Cannes Film Festival made greater strides this year in including more films directed by women.)
Next year on le tapis rouge, we will see what the Cannes offerings are. Regardless of films in competition, it is likely to be – as this one was, and as preceding festivals have been – a glamorous, exciting, whirlwind smash success.