David Jenkins, Adam Woodward, Sophie Monks Kaufman

The 10 best films at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival

Our staff writers pick their personal favourites from this year’s festival.

1. The Assassin (Hou)

Well, that’s it for another year. Time to tally up those top tips and start looking forward to the giant wedge of movies set to drop this autumn. Despite the murmurs that this was not a vintage year, I found more to love in this line-up than I have for a good many years. Though top personal honours goes to Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s jaw-dropping The Assassin, I’d happily switch that top spot with any of titles which clocked in from two to six: My Golden Days was the purest shot of pleasure; Arabian Nights is on-the-lam stunt cinema of the highest order; Cemetery of Splendour reaffirms its director as one of the most exciting working in the world, In The Shadow of Women is bracing in its simplicity and directness, and Carol… well, it’s American cinema on a higher plane. Read our review of The Assassin.

2. My Golden Days (Desplechin)
3. Arabian Nights (Gomes)
4. Cemetery of Splendour (Weerasethakul)
5. In the Shadow of Women (Garrel)
6. Carol (Haynes)
7. Tale of Tales (Garrone)
8. One Floor Below (Muntean)
9. Mountains May Depart (Zhangke)
10. Louder Than Bombs (Trier)

Adam Woodward (Deputy Editor)

1. Youth (Sorrentino)

Paulo Sorrentino’s symphonic and supremely funny portrait of an ageing composer searching for a new lease of life at a Swiss chateaux has proven divisive among critics. All the more reason to suggest it may just win top honours come Sunday when the Palme d’Or is handed out. Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel are both tremendous in their respective roles as revered maestros on the wane, while Sorrentino infuses the serenely beautiful (at times bewildering) imagery with life-affirming exuberance. A scene in which Caine conducts an orchestra of cows in a field is among the most joyous we’ve seen at this prestigious festival. Read our review of Youth.

2. My Golden Days (Desplechin)
3. The Assassin (Hou)
4. Carol (Haynes)
5. Cemetery of Splendour (Weerasethakul)
6. Inside Out (Docter)
7. Son of Saul (Nemes)
8. One Floor Below (Muntean)
9. Green Room (Saulnier)
10. The Here After (von Horn)

Sophie Monks Kaufman (Staff Writer)

1. Youth (Sorrentino)

“It’s life, it’s Paolo,” said Michael Caine when we interviewed him about Youth. The sprawling, magical, loving evocation of a place that (contrarily) isn’t quite of this world repays mulling and unpicking and reliving of the crazily imaginative scenarios scattered like the tastiest and most tasteful of treasure-hunt treats. That it doesn’t neatly add up neatly or build with mathematical precision is like life and also of secondary import to the atmosphere that rolls beneath, lifting one up with the tenderness of a father placing a child on his shoulders.

2. Inside Out (Docter)
3. Black Girl (Sembene)
4. Carol (Haynes)
5. Beyond My Grandfather, Allende (Marcia Tambutti Allende)
6. One Floor Below (Muntean)
7. Sicario (Villeneuve)
8. Krisha (Shults)
9. Sembene! (Niang)
10. Green Room (Saulnier)

Published 22 May 2015

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The Assassin – first look review

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Taiwanese master Hou Hsiao-Hsien reinvents the martial arts movie, with utterly astonishing results.

My Golden Days – first look review

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The new feature from Arnaud Desplechin is a rite-of-passage masterpiece.

Arabian Nights – first look review

By David Jenkins

Miguel Gomes dazzles and infuriates (but mostly dazzles) with a rambling love poem to his poverty-stricken country.

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