Checking in on Cannes

 critics Justin Chang and Peter Debruge have offered some so-far thoughts on the films of this year’s Cannes Film Festival. They begin thusly:

Debruge: It’s been raining for the last few days in Cannes, which is the perfect kind of weather to drive critics into movie theaters, where we feel grateful for grubby dramas set inside medieval-minded Romanian monasteries — such as “Beyond the Hills,” a skin-crawling, unsensationalized look at a real-life exorcism gone wrong from past Palme d’Or winner Cristian Mungiu — or during the height of American Prohibition, like “Lawless,” a John Hillcoat-Nick Cave collaboration whose blood seems laced with peyote, not moonshine. Still, it’s a bit too early in the festival for the world’s tastemakers to have arrived at anything resembling consensus regarding the films that have unspooled so far.

Chang: Even strong films that play in the competition spotlight are bound to have their detractors, yet I’ve heard unusually few dissenting remarks about Michael Haneke’s runaway critical favorite (pictured above), “Amour” — and I’m not about to add any. Anyone familiar with Haneke knows the milk of human kindness does not exactly flow through his body of work; here, he’s found a way to be every bit as exacting and pitiless as ever about his subject, but with a devastating counterweight of emotional honesty provided by the extraordinary performances of Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva. Is it too early to declare “Amour” a masterpiece? I’m not so sure. There wasn’t a moment in this film when I felt I was anywhere but in the hands of a master. …

Read the entire piece here.

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