News

The 7 Best Films We Saw at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, And Where You Can See them Soon

From Tarantino's Hollywood to Palme d'Or winner Parasite and the black-and-white horrors of The Lighthouse.

by | May 30, 2019 | Comments

Parasite
(Photo by Courtesy the Cannes Film Festival)
The crowds have bid ‘au revoir’ to the 72nd annual Cannes Film Festival, where films about inequality and injustice, as well as some avant-garde horror, riveted audiences. This year’s jury, led by Birdman director Alejandro González Iñárritu, bestowed the golden laurels of the Palme d’Or (the festival’s top prize) on Snowpiercer director Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite. Joon-ho’s Palme d’Or win for his twisty social satire follows Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s 2018 win for Shoplifters, making him the third Asian director to take home the top prize and the first Korean filmmaker. The runner-up prize, the Grand Prix, also made history when actress-turned-director Mati Diop won for her debut film Atlantique, becoming the first Black female director to be awarded a competition prize. (It was a second coup for Diop, who made history when she became the first Black female director to be selected in competition).

Elsewhere, our rumored next Batman, Robert Pattinson, continued his run of stellar indie performances and sparked early Oscar talk for his turn alongside co-star Willem Dafoe in the black-and-white horror tale, The Lighthouse. It was one of several films that critics are betting will make a deep run this awards season, along with Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, Rocketman, and Pedro Almodóvar’s Pain and Glory, for which Antonio Banderas was named best actor.

Here are the seven buzziest films we saw at Cannes 2019; you’ll definitely want to check them out when they reach theaters near you or land on streaming.


Atlantics (2019) 96% 

Cannes 2019 saw four films in the competition from female filmmakers and three took home prizes; the most prestigious prize went to Mati Diop for Atlantique. A haunting ghost story about the disappearance of exploited construction workers at a Dakar high-rise sets the stage for the tale of two star-crossed lovers. A Black Romeo and Juliet, Ada and Souleimen plan to run away together, but the high-rise builder is refusing to pay the crew over three months of backpay; forced to find work elsewhere, Souleimen and the others set sail for Spain, but their ship capsizes. The young men proceed to bend the laws of death, trying to reunite with their lady loves.

When can you see it? Acquired by Netflix, the film is expected for release globally sometime later this year.


Once Upon a Time In Hollywood (2019) 85% 

Once Upon a Time In Hollywood
(Photo by Columbia Pictures)

Quentin Tarantino’s latest adventure came up short on major prizes at the festival, but that has not put even the slightest damper on the director’s long-term awards hopes. Tarantino is poised for accolades alongside his two male leads – Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio – especially for the dynamic script, which provides an alternate history of the Manson Family murders. There was some controversy about the role of Sharon Tate, played by Margot Robbie, and the character’s lack of dialogue – and that may catch up with the filmmaker as awards season kicks into gear. As with Inglourious Basterds after its Cannes premiere in 2009, the word is Tarantino wants to recut Once Upon A Time in Hollywood. Will this rumored new cut have more for dialogue for Robbie? We shall wait and see.

When can you see it? Sony has Once Upon a Time in Hollywood set for a July 26 release; expect it to do well at the box office as an alternative bit of original programming in a summer laden with superheroes and sequels.


()

Bacarau
(Photo by Courtesy the Cannes Film Festival)

A skillfully shot genre flick, this gory The Raid-meets-Seven Samurai mashup set in rural Brazil lit up the early days of the festival. The film tied Les Miserables, the French dramatization of the 2005 Paris riots, for the third-place Jury Prize. Part modern western and part political statement, Bacarau throws social commentary and deadpan humor into a no-holds-barred action blender and turns everything up to full blast. A film built for midnight drive-ins, it has the chops to be a Train To Busan-style cult hit.

When Can You See It? SBS Distribution and Vitrine Filmes are handling the French and Brazilian distribution but no word yet on the North American rights.


Parasite (Gisaengchung) (2019) 99%

Parasite
(Photo by Courtesy Cannes Film Festival)

For the second year in a row – and only the third time for the festival – an Asian director took home the Palme d’Or. We think Snowpiercer director Bong Joon-ho could not be a more worthy winner. Critics raved about this story of two families who reflect the evils of wealth, inequality, and class discrimination. A hilarious farce that also works as a thought-provoking drama, Parasite follows in Joon-ho’s tradition of setting class dissections in the most unlikely of places. A. A Dowd of the AV Club wrote that the film “shifts tonal gears in total service of its class politics, infecting the film’s breezy dark-comedy with notes of rage and melancholy.”

When can you see it? NEON acquired the North American rights for Parasite before release; following the Palme d’Or and rave reviews, they’ve announced the film will open in New York and Los Angeles on October 11, presumably before it expands to more theaters on a later date.


The Lighthouse (2019) 90%

The Lighthouse
(Photo by Courtesy the Cannes Film Festival)

The Witch writer-director Robert Eggers has proven he’s just getting started with his peculiar brand of horror. The Lighthouse, which won the Cannes Critics Award, was one of the best-reviewed films of the festival. Those lucky enough to catch a screening have dubbed the story of two men trapped in a 1800s lighthouse a gothic horror masterpiece. Utilizing 1940s camera techniques – it’s shot in black-and-white on 35mm film – the atmospheric thriller could be a dark horse awards contender, and co-stars Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe are getting early Oscar whispers. The two worked through grueling conditions on the film, something that worked for Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant. 

When can you see it? Produced and distributed by A24, The Lighthouse will hit U.S. theaters soon but no word yet on the date. 


Rocketman (2019) 89%

Rocketman and Bohemian Rhapsody seem to destined for comparison: They’re both the stories of flamboyant, hard-partying, larger-than-life ’70s rock icons who struggled with their sexuality. They even shared a manager – and the films kind of share a director: Rocketman director Dexter Fletcher was tapped to finish and edit Bohemian Rhapsody after original director Bryan Singer was unceremoniously fired. However, after Rocketman‘s Cannes premiere, we can confirm that the two films could not be more different. A musical theater adaptation of Elton John’s life, Rocketman is a wholly unique cinema experience. Taron Egerton disappears into the role of John for this psychedelic fantasy version of the singer’s early career and his struggles with depression and addiction. After Rami Malek walked away with the Oscar in 2018 for his lip-sync take on Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, it will be hard to argue that Egerton is any less deserving of a nomination given that he sings and dances throughout the entire runtime.

When can we see it? Rocketman hits theaters May 31.


Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Portrait de la jeune fille en feu) (2020) 98%

A Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Céline Sciamma was awarded best screenplay for period lesbian love story Portrait of A Lady on Fire; but for much of the festival many pundits thought she was about to become the first female director since Jane Campion to win the Palme d’Or. A film that many are calling an LBGTQ version of The Piano, or a lesbian Call Me By Your Name, Portrait of A Lady on Fire is a taut love story between a painter and her subject, two women desperately in love but living on borrowed time. The film is an awards-season threat for production design, cinematography, and acting prizes for the leads Noémie Merlant and Adèle Haenel.

When can you see it? NEON acquired the North American rights to A Portrait of Lady on Fire and has scheduled it for release on December 6.


Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.

Tag Cloud

ABC Family cancelled TV series 45 Film Martial Arts zombies witnail New York Comic Con hispanic Shondaland south america Marathons Bravo Fox News LGBT Winners Quiz San Diego Comic-Con Holidays Disney Pirates Teen Rocky toy story Rocketman Valentine's Day Grammys Marvel Studios Women's History Month Paramount Mudbound Funimation Infographic Emmys Dark Horse Comics golden globes independent NYCC casting spider-man adaptation Extras what to watch FXX zero dark thirty 21st Century Fox Brie Larson BET movie Song of Ice and Fire YouTube Premium canceled Comics on TV Arrowverse Crunchyroll ITV Rock TV renewals Hulu YA Mary Tyler Moore true crime Vudu CBS streaming Trailer sports Sneak Peek rotten movies we love robots Mystery children's TV TV Land Amazon anime PBS space latino Masterpiece mutant game show Set visit politics Paramount Network Nominations Thanksgiving Stephen King Christmas Columbia Pictures TIFF green book spanish language reviews Amazon Prime political drama Star Trek revenge Epix Star Wars Red Carpet Warner Bros. indie Comedy Central Heroines Disney Channel Reality Competition dc Pixar HBO ratings Character Guide Spectrum Originals transformers Endgame Shudder The Walking Dead Apple TV+ Chernobyl sag awards Elton John Action First Look cults Super Bowl Spring TV RT21 free movies Pet Sematary TCA Winter 2020 breaking bad Mary poppins scary movies Apple OWN kids Cannes Premiere Dates supernatural richard e. Grant DC Comics Mindy Kaling MTV E! sequel science fiction TLC WarnerMedia tv talk Summer halloween SXSW Netflix Christmas movies theme song natural history Mary Poppins Returns Year in Review Binge Guide 2018 DirecTV LGBTQ Animation Lionsgate canceled TV shows Turner biography screenings DC Universe video Musicals crossover Country joker CW Seed HBO Max cancelled television spain Podcast IFC unscripted sitcom based on movie GoT Tubi Adult Swim medical drama dogs boxoffice doctor who SundanceTV series Disney Plus Schedule Best and Worst Acorn TV Family movies social media Disney+ Disney Plus Interview war Television Academy AMC singing competition jamie lee curtis BBC Countdown Britbox elevated horror documentary finale Horror diversity psycho Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Reality First Reviews YouTube 2019 crime thriller universal monsters Opinion FX Spike Travel Channel CMT foreign Hallmark Christmas movies VH1 talk show BBC America travel spy thriller USA technology Lifetime Christmas movies strong female leads comics cancelled TV shows Classic Film Captain marvel police drama Holiday versus 71st Emmy Awards Anna Paquin romance Showtime The Witch The Purge Ghostbusters Amazon Prime Video ghosts 2020 Hallmark Polls and Games USA Network VICE blaxploitation Trivia Disney streaming service Netflix Sundance TV comiccon serial killer Cartoon Network DGA Film Festival Cosplay Calendar A&E dceu Fall TV Oscars thriller Superheroe slashers El Rey adventure MSNBC Academy Awards Ellie Kemper cats animated RT History ABC GLAAD Creative Arts Emmys crime drama vampires directors Sci-Fi Drama Musical DC streaming service discovery Kids & Family christmas movies cinemax Sundance Apple TV Plus Freeform Comedy binge cars renewed TV shows zombie The CW Logo IFC Films Pop justice league composers book 20th Century Fox Food Network Sony Pictures CBS All Access Election Awards Tour crime 2015 historical drama Biopics dragons award winner cartoon Crackle Lucasfilm TV period drama FX on Hulu Marvel Syfy WGN History hist TBS cooking reboot Music cops festivals A24 See It Skip It batman television President romantic comedy Discovery Channel screen actors guild Emmy Nominations blockbuster cancelled Tumblr YouTube Red Trophy Talk Watching Series Certified Fresh miniseries teaser TCA ESPN franchise mockumentary Awards Tarantino disaster psychological thriller spinoff CNN Sundance Now comic dramedy anthology Comic Book docudrama stand-up comedy Esquire TCM Marvel Television Amazon Studios TruTV 24 frames Writers Guild of America Video Games Peacock X-Men Walt Disney Pictures GIFs Chilling Adventures of Sabrina MCU Superheroes Tomatazos National Geographic Winter TV FOX harry potter OneApp Nickelodeon American Society of Cinematographers nature Avengers Starz Black Mirror 007 2017 Black History Month Pop TV facebook Fantasy aliens 2016 Rom-Com game of thrones PaleyFest Box Office name the review Toys NBC APB Lifetime E3 Pride Month The Arrangement Ovation Turner Classic Movies quibi Western Nat Geo TCA 2017 werewolf TNT Photos Baby Yoda SDCC Universal