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The best films to come out of Cannes Film Festival 2017

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The Cannes Film Festival came to a close on Sunday with what is seen as one of the most prestigious awards ceremonies in film.

Credit: France24

The week and a half long festival saw 19 films nominated for the Palme d’Or, all of which were of excellent quality. With that being said, some stood out more than others. Here’s a look at four stand-out films to come out of Cannes this year.

The Square

Starting with the winner of the Palme d’Or: The Square. Directed by Ruben Östlund the film is a satirical drama about the publicity that arises around an art installation in the Stockholm Palace, which, in the film, has been converted into an art museum.

Starring the likes of Dominic West and Elizabeth Moss, the film has been praised for its depiction of the “decadence of the contemporary art world.” It follows museum curator Christian, played by Claes Bang, who, after having his phone and wallet stolen, sets in motion events that lead to his professional downfall.

The film is darkly humorous and although it was the unexpected winner of Cannes' top prize, the jury made up of the likes of Pedro Almadóvar and Will Smith chose it as the festival's best film. Almadóvar said that The Square accurately depicted “the dictatorship of being politically correct”.

Credit: IndieWire

Loveless

The film that many believed would win the Palme d’Or was Russian director Andrey Zvyaginstev’s Loveless. The film follows a Russian couple in Moscow who are in the midst of a bitter divorce when their 12-year-old son Alyosha (Matvey Nokivov) disappears.

The police, who believe the boy has run away, leave the broken couple to form their own search party in an attempt to find their son. The film’s characters, particularly Alyosha’s mother, Zhenya (Maryana Spivak) are shown to be selfish, vain and obsessed with social status.

Writer Agnès Poirier dubbed Loveless beautiful, bleak and hypnotic saying that the film “shows Russia today". Zvyaginstev however, says that the film is “more of an intimate story” rather than “a portrait of Russia”. Having left Cannes with the Jury Prize and leaving many impressed, Loveless is sure to be a great watch come its theatrical release.

Credit: Variety

Happy End

A film that didn’t pick up any awards but was still incredibly well received was Happy End. The Austrian film, from veteran director Michael Haneke, is about a wealthy family in Calais whose members are all looking for what the film’s title suggests: a happy end.

The film touches on a number of issues including euthanasia, lack of responsibility and damaging the next generation. All this is shown with the European refugee crisis as a backdrop.

Although some have criticised the film for being a re-tread of Haneke’s previous works, with similar themes being touched upon, others see it as a triumphant ensemble of the director’s best features. This is the case for BBC culture editor Matthew Anderson, who said that whilst being “a very heavy and difficult film”, Happy End is like the final movement of a classical piece of music as it incorporates all of Haneke’s key themes. The film stars Isabelle Huppert and Toby Jones amongst many others, who are said to have put in excellent performances.

Credit: IndieWire

102 Beats Per Minute

The final stand-out film coming out of Cannes is 102 Beats Per Minute. Winner of what is considered to be the second-place prize of the festival, the Grand Prix, the film tells the story of HIV and AIDS activists of the group ACT UP, and tells of their struggles in Paris during the 1990s.

The film has been dubbed humorous and inspiring whilst being able to capture the harsh realities faced by its characters. Directed by Robin Campillo, the French film received a positive reception at the festival from critics. Its depiction, not only of the sense of community amongst the activists, but of the realistic political struggle they faced, has been praised as well as its uplifting tone. Starring Arnaud Valois as protagonist Nathan and Nahuel Pèrez Biscayart as fellow activist Sean, the drama will be released in France this coming August.

Credit: The Upcoming

These are only a handful of some of the great films to come out of Cannes this year. Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman’s The Killing of a Sacred Deer has received notable acclaim, as has You Were Never Really Here, starring Joaquin Phoenix. The Jury awarded Phoenix the Best Actor Award for his role in the film whilst Diane Kruger received Best Actress for German drama In the Fade.

Though Cannes is now done for another year it has brought with it a number of great films that audience will surely enjoy as they are released throughout the year.

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