Cinephiles and celebrity watchers around the world are feeling nostalgic for the Cannes Film Festival, which won’t take place this year due to coronavirus. The festival has only been cancelled twice before. In 1939, when the very first Cannes ever was about to launch, dozens of stars arrived on MGM’s ocean liner, but after the opening night film, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” screened, German troops invaded Poland, and well, the rest is World War II history. The festival started back up again in 1946, and wasn’t interrupted again until 1968, when a group of filmmakers led by Louis Malle took over a screening in solidarity with striking French workers and students.
In recent years, the festival has weathered criticism over its selection policy not highlighting enough women directors and has been forced by French exhibitors to stop screening Netflix films. But it remains the most important place in the world for auteurs, stars, film fans and journalists to all come together in one rosé-drenched, glamorous crush of humanity — a crowd scene that for obvious reasons, could not happen in 2020.
Here are some of the top Palme d’Or and Grand Prix-winning titles from the 1990s and later — plus two from the ‘70s and ‘80s — that are available to stream. (Sorry, David Lynch fans — 1990 Palme d’Or winner “Wild at Heart” is not available to rent, so check out his 2001 Cannes best director winner “Mulholland Drive” instead.)