Cannes Film Festival runs for the 69th time this year. Festival’s officials have decided they will be making it harder each year for us journalists and critics to make a top 10 list: how can someone exclude artists such as Woody Allen, Sean Penn, Pedro Almodóvar, and all those A- list names arriving at the French Riviera annually? This is the magic, though, composing the Cannes Film Festival. As a result, we decided to make a 10-must-see-films list instead of a top 10 one, so no one feels excluded.
PS: for those of you who worry the festival is a potential terrorist target, don’t. Cannes officials are doing their best to ensure your safety.
1. Café Society, Woody Allen (USA), out of competition
A-list cast, Woody Allen directorship, and nostalgia; how could this film not be included in this list? A young man wants to join the show business; he joins the vibrant café society instead, as he falls in love. Great Gatsby look a like set, on the West Coast.
2. It’s Only the End of the World, Xavier Dolan (Canada), competition
A terminally ill writer returns home only to announce his upcoming death to his family. France’s equivalent to Hollywood stars are all in this one.
3. Paterson, Jim Jarmusch (USA), competition
A couple living in Patterson, New Jersey is dealing with their different lifestyles on a daily basis. A movie about a bus driver and a poet. Also, the first production of Amazon.
4. Eshtebak/ Clash, Mohamed Diab (Egypt), Un Certain Regard
Eshtebak is a political thriller, exploring the clash between the two brotherhoods arising after president Mohamed Morsi’s removal: pro and anti- Muslim.
5. The Neon Demon, Nicols Winding Refn (US, France, Denmark), competition
When aspiring model Jesse moves to Los Angeles, her youth and vitality are devoured by a group of beauty-obsessed women who will use any means necessary to get what she has.
6. Loving, Jeff Nichols (US), competition
Loving celebrates the real-life courage and commitment of an interracial couple, Richard and Mildred Loving, who married and then spent the next nine years fighting for the right to live as a family in their hometown. Their civil rights case, Loving v. Virginia, went all the way to the Supreme Court, which in 1967 reaffirmed the very foundation of the right to marry – making their love story an inspiration to couples everywhere.
7. Elle, Paul Verhoeven (France), competition
Michèle seems indestructible. Head of a leading video game company, she brings the same ruthless attitude to her love life as to business. Being attacked in her home by an unknown assailant changes Michèle’s life forever. When she resolutely tracks the man down, they are both drawn into a curious and thrilling game—a game that may, at any moment, spiral out of control.
8. American Honey, Andrea Arnold (UK), competition
Star (Sasha Lane), a teenage girl from a troubled home, runs away with a traveling sales crew who drive across the American Midwest selling magazine subscriptions door to door. Finding her feet in this gang of teenagers, one of whom is Jake (Shia LaBeouf), she soon gets into the group’s lifestyle of hard-partying nights, law-bending days, and young love.
9. Hands of Stone, Jonathan Jakubovicz (US), midnight projections
Hands of Stone is the knockout story behind boxing legends Roberto Duran (Edgar Ramírez) and trainer Ray Arcel (Robert De Niro) and how each man changed the life of the other. Set during boxing’s Golden Era, when Duran was among top notch fighters including Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns, and Marvin Hagler, Roberto fought them all and won 103 of his 119 fights, but his life inside and outside of the ring would not be the same without a corner to turn to.
10. Hell or High Water, David MacKenzie (US), Un Certain Regard
Two brothers, an ex-con and a divorced father face the foreclosure of their family’s farm and decide to team up for a string of adrenaline filled heists. A seasoned lawman tracks their bank-robbing spree and is determined to take them down.