Top ten films from Cannes 2012

By Hindustan Times

From the winners of the much-coveted awards to the official Indian entries at Cannes, we present to you the best the prestigious film festival has to offer and why you shouldn't miss them.

1. Amour or Love (Palme d' Or winner): Amour is a sweetly tragic tale of an elderly couple in France. A duo of octogenarian actors bowled Cannes over as a devoted husband and his dying wife in a wrenching cinematic study of love at the bitter end by Palme d'Or winner Michael Haneke.

Love, incidentally, was also the favourite among Cannes critics, who had given the movie the highest number of stars, and it seemed in a long time that the jury and journalists were on the same wave length. It also marks the first time a filmmaker has won back to back Palms so quickly.

2. The Angel’s Share (Jury Prize winner): British master Ken Loach’s The Angel’s Share is a lovely piece of cinema about a young father whose new-born son proves a turning point in his life of petty crime.

This year, his The Angel’s Share was part of the 22-film Competition lineup. This movie, coming out of a partnership between Loach and writer Paul Laverty, is one of the best from the director’s stable. It is warm, it is witty and, despite the moral issues it throws up, The Angel’s Share ends on note of hope and happiness.

About Britain’s generation of young men and women struggling to find their bread and butter, Loach’s work often seems like a fairy tale that ends well. And it is peppered with delightful humour, sweet sentiment and fair play. As one critic said, “The Angels’ Share deftly balances heartbreak and hilarity to offer a cheering, feel good ray of hope from what often seem like the bleakest of lives.”

The highly regarded British director, Ken Loach, has screened 11 of his movies at the Cannes Film Festival. No other helmer holds this record. What is more, all his 11 movies played in the coveted Competition, with his 2006 The Wind that Shakes the Barley clinching the top Palm d’Or.

3. Reality (Grand Prix winner): Luciano is a Neapolitan fishmonger who supplements his modest income by pulling off little scams together with his wife Maria. A likeable, entertaining guy, Luciano never misses an opportunity to perform for his customers and countless relatives. One day his family urge him to try out for Big Brother. In chasing this dream his perception of reality begins to change.

Matteo Garrone won the prestigious Grand Prix award for this film.

4. Después de Lucia (Un Certain Regard winner): Michel Franco's film is about a girl Alejandra and her dad Roberto, who have just moved to town. She is new at school and he has a new job. Starting over is sometimes complicated when you have left so much behind.

The film winning the Un Certain Regard award symbolises it having an original aim and aesthetic.

5. Rust and Bone: Marion Cotillard’s wonderfully arresting performance as a killer whale trainer in Jacques Audiard’s Rust and Bone is being tossed around as the clincher in the acting category.

One of the Competition entries at the ongoing 65th Cannes Film Festival is Jacques Audiard’s Rust and Bone in French. This is one of the nicest movies I have seen till now at this 12-day event on the French Riviera. Audiard has created a wide canvas over the years: his A Self-Made Hero probed revisionist history, tackled love between a former convict and almost deaf woman in Read My Lips and walked into the murky corridors of a French prison in A Prophet, which clinched an Oscar nod for the Best Foreign Language Picture. The actual trophy did not come its way.

In his latest, a Cannes Competition entry, Rust and Bone, Audiard gets the ravishing Marion Cotillard to play a woman who trains killer whales (the passions people have!). In love and living with her boyfriend, she becomes the centre of a brawl in a club one night, and has to be rescued by the financially- broke boxer doubling up as a bouncer there, Matthias Schoenaerts.

6. Beyond the Hills: Garnering more stars from critics than Rust and Bone was Christian Mungiu’s Beyond the Hills. It could not be more apt for it comes at a time when the rift between religious-superstition and secular pragmatism is deepening. This is glaring in India. Directed by the gifted Romania’s Cristian Mungiu (whose abortion drama, 4 months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days won the Palm d’Or at Cannes a few years ago), Beyond the Hills unfolds in a remote monastery, where there is no electricity, no running water and little trace of modernism. Headed by a local priest, the Orthodox monastery houses an order of young nuns, who call the man papa.

7. Moonrise Kingdom: Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom, about two runaway kids who decide to get married, appeared to be in the ring – much like Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, also a Cannes opener, was last year.

Moonrise Kingdom was filmed on an island in New England, and narrates tormented days in the summer of 1965. More specifically it is a story of two young lovers running away from their town, with the local sheriff and the girl’s parents in hot pursuit. Looks like it has all the masala of Mumbai!

With its heavy-weight cast of Hollywood A-listers, the film also contributed to a dazzling opening night red carpet. Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, Ed Norton and Tilda Swinton posed amicably.

India Connect:

8. Miss Lovely (Un Certain Regard nominee): An Indian movie has made it to the 65th Cannes Film Festival. Ashim Ahluwalia’s Miss Lovely will be part of the A Certain Regard, with about 20 entries. Set in the Mumbai of the mid-1980s, Miss Lovely is a story of sleaze and suspicion. Two brothers, Vicky and Sonu, make C-grade movies, and fall in love with the same woman. Miss Lovely stars Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Niharika Singh and Anil George.

Ahluwalia distances himself from traditional Bollywood but has a fascination with elements of Indian cinema: his "very gritty and dark" film depicts the sleazy world of 1980s "C" grade Hindi movies. "I was interested in the lower depths of the industry, people who make cheap films on the margins -- sex horror films, bandit films," he told AFP.

9. Gangs of Wasseypur (Directors' Fortnight section): Anurag Kashyap directed the longest-running entry in the festival, Gangs of Wasseypur, a five hour and 20 minute film he describes as "a Bollywood-influenced gangster epic, part Western, part documentary. "With a folk-meets-dubstep soundtrack and a basis in true stories, the film follows three generations of coal and scrap-trade mafia gangs in a suburb in east India who are obsessed with traditional Hindi cinema.

“It’s an epic drama in which we have fictionalised the facts. The universal appeal of the subject attracted me a lot. It’s a world that India has never before seen on the big screen. On second thoughts, I guess no one has,” says Anurag Kashyap about the film.

10. Peddlers (Camera d'Or nominee): Vasan Bala's is about a ghost town, Mumbai, which is inhabited by millions. A lady on a mission, a man living a lie, an aimless drifter. They collide. Some collisions are of consequence, some not, either ways the city moves on. The film has been produced by Anurag Kashyap.

Peddlers was showcased at the Cannes Critics' Week and compete for the prestigious Camera d'Or.

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