Michael has attended the Cannes Film festival since the year that young French director Claude Lelouch premiered A Man and a Woman back in 1966, and every year since has brought something different. This year was an excellent film year, but the atmosphere seemed lower key for the crowds in attendance. We were treated us to the newest work of many past Chicago International Film Festival favorites and award winners, from The Salesman directed by Asghar Farhadi (Gold Hugo winner for Fireworks Wednesday and Academy Award winner for A Separation) and American Honey directed by Andrea Arnold (winner of the Special Jury Prize for Fish Tank) to After the Storm by Kore-eda Hirokau (Gold Hugo winner for Maboroshi) and Graduation by Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days).
Comedies were front and center this year on the Croisette. We can’t remember attending a festival where we laughed so much and with so many people. The Directors’ Fortnight sidebar opened with the dark Italian comedy Like Crazy directed by Chicago favorite Paolo Virzi (Human Capital, 2014) about two women who escape from a mental institution. Maren Ade’s competition entry Toni Erdmann, the story of a father who will do whatever it takes to save his daughter and himself, had audiences laughing uncontrollably in their seats. Paterson, one of two of Jim Jarmusch’s films in the official selection, is a gentle, winsome comedy featuring Adam Driver as a bus driver poet in the small New Jersey town of Paterson. And the delightful French animation My Life as a Zucchini tells a bittersweet and comical tale of a newly orphaned boy finding his way in the world.
Alongside the humor, there was also plenty of dysfunctional family situations in the selection, from Romanian auteur Cristi Puiu’s Sieranevada, Israeli director Maha Haj’s Personal Affairs and Japanese filmmaker Koji Fukada’s Harmonium. Each of the films explore the absurdities and drama of domestic life with artistry and profundity.
We’re looking forward to introducing many of these fine films to Festival audiences in October.
Michael and Mimi