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The Hollywood Reporter Critics Pick 20 Cannes Film Festival Favorites

To Chiara
(Directors’ Fortnight)
Jonas Carpignano completes his trilogy about a Calabrian village where African refugees, the Roma community and the mafia coexist, for the first time focusing on a young female protagonist: a teenage girl (Swamy Rotolo) who absorbs shocking discoveries about her adored father. The result – a first prize winner at the Directors’ Fortnight – is a film of haunting intimacy. – DAVID ROONEY

After Yang
(A certain look)
Colin Farrell and Jodie Turner-Smith play a couple whose family harmony is disrupted when the android brother they bought for their adopted Chinese daughter collapses in writer-director Kogonada’s exquisite meditative sci-fi drama. The stealth emotional power of the film takes hold of you. – DR

Ahed’s knee
(Competence)
Co-winner of the third jury prize, Israeli author Nadav Lapid’s film is a daring cinematic self-fiction about a director (Avshalom Pollak) who battles personal, professional and political demons during a trip to present one of his films. The scorching cri de coeur represents a step towards something even more provocative than Lapid’s 2019 Golden Bear winner, Synonyms. – JORDAN MINTZER

Belle
(Cannes premieres)
Perhaps the most ambitious work to date by Japanese animator Mamoru Hosoda alternates between a quiet little town where his painfully insecure heroine lives and an exciting virtual universe where people take refuge in idealized avatars to escape the pain of the real world. The movie is technically spectacular, but it is based on human emotion. – DEBORAH YOUNG

Bergman Island
(Competence)
A pair of screenwriters (Vicky Krieps and Tim Roth) are going through love and career crises on the Swedish island made famous by Ingmar Bergman in Mia Hansen’s lively but deeply personal film Love. Delicate, funny, and infused with a sober and haunting melancholy, the film wears its many layers lightly. – JON FROSCH

Clara Sola
(Directors’ Fortnight)
Filmed in a remote corner of Costa Rica, Nathalie Álvarez Mesén’s richly imagined debut revolves around the sexual awakening of a 40-year-old protected woman (Wendy Chinchilla Araya, in a wild twist). Tinted with magical realism and immersed in the sensory world, the film is a vivid reminder that even a matriarchy can be patronizing. – SHERI LINDEN

Compartment No. 6
(Competence)
Juho Kuosmanen from Finland follows his debut, The happiest day in the life of Olli Mäki, with this melancholic Grand Prize-winning film about a Finnish student (Seidi Haarla) who shares her sleeping car with a tough Russian miner (Yuriy Borisov) on a train trip through rural Russia. The narrative has a generosity of spirit, tender but not sentimental. – DR

Cow
(Cannes premieres)
Andrea Arnold (American honey) returns with his first feature documentary, impressively chronicling several years in the life of a dairy cow in England. Working with cinematographer Magda Kowalczyk, Arnold plunges us directly into his subject’s point of view and never leaves it until the bitter and forceful end. – JM

The French office
(Competence)
Bill Murray plays the editor of an American magazine in France whose staff is preparing its latest issue of Wes Anderson’s The Beautiful Valentine for literary journalism. With handcrafted visual delights and charming twists from Benicio Del Toro, Léa Seydoux, Frances McDormand, Timothée Chalamet, and Jeffrey Wright, it’s the cinematic equivalent of a fine collection of short stories. – DR

Great freedom
(A certain look)
Franz Rogowski (Transit) plays a gay German repeatedly arrested for “deviant practices” in the decades after World War II in Sebastian Meise’s intense and intricately structured drama. The film, which tells a dark chapter in queer history, is also a contemplative study of the effects of incarceration and a tender and unconventional love story. – DR

A hero
(Competence)
Asghar Farhadi (A seperation) returns to his native Iran with this cunning and finely crafted drama, which shared the second grand prize, about a prisoner (Amir Jadidi) who becomes, through an unexpected chain of events, a local hero. Plunging deep into the ills of Iranian society, it is a complex story of half-truths and lies that devour those who traffic in them. – DY

Hit the road
(Directors’ Fortnight)
Panah Panahi (son of Iranian author Jafar Panahi) makes his feature film debut with this wildly inventive family road movie. Channeling the slow realism of the Iranian New Wave, he also crafted a subtle and surprising story about a young man who cuts ties with his family in order to find his own way. – JM

mutton
(A certain look)
Noomi Rapace and Hilmir Snær Guonason play Icelandic sheep farmers who harness a surprising discovery during calving season as a way to heal their pain in Valdimar Jóhannsson’s wild, bizarre and terrifying first feature film. It’s an incredibly safe movie that should put the director on the map in a similar way to Robert Eggers. The witch. – DR

Lingui, the sacred ties
(Competence)
Chadian director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun’s beautiful and moving drama centers on a single mother and her pregnant teenage daughter as they seek an abortion in a country where it is technically legal but impossible to access. The filmmaker delves into the depths of the ties between women, gradually revealing how far they will go to protect themselves and each other. – LOVIA GYARKYE

Prayers for the Stolen
(A certain look)
In her sensitive and haunting first narrative feature film, documentary filmmaker Tatiana Huezo explores the devastating toll of Mexico’s drug wars through a coming-of-age drama centered on three rural girls. The film is watched closely, with moments of astonishing emotion conveyed by the six first-time artists who portray the trio of friends at two different ages. – SL

The Souvenir Part II
(Directors’ Fortnight)
This superb sequel to Joanna Hogg’s 2019 feature film about a young woman drawn into a damaging relationship with a charming Caddish finds the British filmmaker at the height of her powers. In another performance of surprising emotional directness, Honor Swinton Byrne plays the leading lady as she separates the remains of their tragic romance and reassembles the pieces. – DR

The history of cinema: a new generation
(Special screenings)
Having examined the first century of cinematography with its The history of cinema: an odyssey, Mark Cousins ​​turns his restless and passionate gaze to the 10 years that have elapsed since the launch of that 2011 series, up to and including these last months of closed theaters. The resulting inspired documentary sometimes flows unhurriedly and sometimes rushes into corners, where startling surprises await. – SL

Titanium
(Competence)
In his cheeky and daring follow-up to the cannibal drama Raw, French director Julia Ducournau highlights genre conventions of body horror and female revenge thriller with themes of queerness and gender. It’s a weirdly poignant, punk movie about two really screwed up human beings who, despite the odds, share a father-son bond. – BOYD VAN HOEIJ

Val
(Cannes premieres)
In their rewarding and unconventional documentary, Leo Scott and Ting Poo capture the reflections of the subject Val Kilmer with careless intimacy, embracing his many facets: star, actor, cancer survivor, spiritual warrior, father. Added to that list is the cinematographer, who draws on Kilmer’s extensive personal film and video archives to create a poignant portrait of resilience. – SL

The velvet meter
(Out of Competition)
Todd Haynes dives deep into the history of the influential band led by Lou Reed, making ingenious use of split screen, experimental montage, and densely layered visuals and sound for two fabulously entertaining hours. It is a work that could almost come from the same artistic explosion that it celebrates. – DR

A version of this story first appeared in the July 16 issue of Newzpanda magazine. Click here for subscribe.

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