14 Things We Can’t Stop Thinking About After This Year’s Cannes Film Festival

Photo: A24

This year’s sprawling Cannes Film Festival has finally come to a close, and even though your Vulture correspondents Kyle Buchanan and Emily Yoshida are back in the United States, their thoughts still drift eastward to the Croisette. Here are some of the movies, performances, songs, and murders they can’t stop thinking about.

Most Likely to Vex New Yorkers: Under the Silver Lake
The East-coast Establishment has always condescended to the City of Angels, and after David Robert Mitchell’s trippy L.A. noir Under the Silver Lake comes out in theaters this summer, even more scorn will be heaped westward. Let them seethe! This Andrew Garfield mystery is set in the sort of sunny hipster enclaves that inspire New Yorkers to fire off their most poisonous tweets, but if you’re willing to keep your arms uncrossed, you’ll find something funny, beautifully filmed, and possessed of unexpected poignance. —Kyle Buchanan

Best Film to Watch With Your Parents: Shoplifters
That may sound like a dig, but such is the joy of Hirokazu Kore-Eda: creating approachable, generous dramas that almost everyone, of any age, can find something resonant in. His latest Palme d’Or winning family tale is the director at his best, warm and funny and heartstring-pulling, sometimes all at once. That the film is not only about a family, but interrogates what it even means to be a parent on a sophisticated, satisfying level, makes it all the more appropriate. If your parents are the cool kind who don’t mind subtitles — and if you don’t mind weeping in front of each other — you can do no wrong by streaming this one or buying a ticket when it’s released by Magnolia (date TBD). —Emily Yoshida

Funniest Line Readings: BlacKkKlansman
Though it’s based on a true story, there’s a seeming plot hole that can never quite be surmounted in this new Spike Lee joint: The plot kicks off when John David Washington’s black cop cold-calls the local Ku Klux Klan chapter and pretends to be a racist new recruit, but given that he then has to send his white colleague Adam Driver in to be the face of the operation, shouldn’t Driver take over all the subsequent phone calls, given the obvious difference in the two men’s voices? At least it gives us one great scene where Washington tries his damnedest to get Driver to imitate the way he speaks, something Driver — the heir to Christopher Walken’s utterly unexpected line readings — simply cannot force his voice to do. —KB

Best Single Scene: The First Dance in Climax
Even the not-so-great films at Cannes have some wonderful isolated moments, and the sterling films are strung through with them. Still, no single scene in this year’s lineup felt as much like an instant-classic adrenaline rush as the first dance sequence in Gaspar Noé’s Climax. Choreographed by Nina McNeely and packed to the rafters with young voguers and krumpers, it’s an astonishing single-take sequence that never flags, and the only disappointing thing is that we have to wait for A24 to release this movie so we can watch it a second time. Things eventually go to hell in the movie, but boy, is that scene heaven. —KB

Most Unforgettable Use of 3-D: Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Attendees at the Un Certain Regard screening of Chinese filmmaker Bi Gan’s lovelorn epic may have been surprised to receive 3-D glasses as they entered, even more surprised to put them on as the lights lowered, only to have the opening title card read, “This is not a 3-D film. However, please join the protagonist in putting on your glasses when he does.” That moment doesn’t come until what must be an hour into the film, when our drifter hero (Huang Jue) wanders into a grimy adult-movie theater to kill time, falls asleep, and wakes up alone. At that point, the title card comes up, and the film switches to 3-D for an extended dream sequence that runs in one hour-long shot for the rest of the film. It’s impossible to describe — it involves, karaoke, flying and a magic spell — and even more impossible to forget. If only every 3-D film used that extra dimension with Bi’s sense of vision. —EY

Most Disheartening Applause: The House That Jack Built
Who scripted the first scene in this serial-killer tale: Lars von Trier, or some problematic subreddit? In the sequence, Matt Dillon’s roaming murderer encounters Uma Thurman on the side of the road, pleading car troubles and ignorance. She nags him into driving her to a repair shop, then continues to prattle on for so long that certain audience members actually applauded when Dillon smacks her with a car jack to shut her up. Sigh. —KB

Best Shot at Broadway: Cold War
I heard someone describe Pawel Pawlikowski’s latest as a “Polish La La Land,” which is more than a little reductive, but at least acknowledges the great potential Cold War has to be a Broadway smash. There’s singing, dancing, and the bright lights of Berlin, and the genres of music, from stirring Polish mountain folk songs to Parisian jazz, guarantee a best-selling soundtrack. As long as the rights to “Rockin Robin” are reasonable, you’ve got a show-stopping ensemble dance number in the middle. And what the heck, keep the fantastic Joanna Kulig as Zula, who with her throaty belting and tragic charm gave what for my money was the best lead performance in the competition this year. Forget the Palme, we smell a Tony! —EY

Best Fashion: Knife + Heart
Director Yann Gonzalez brings high style to this eccentric story of a porn set beset by a mystery serial killer, but no one is more stylish than lead actress Vanessa Paradis. As the bleach-blonde tyrant who directs these blue movies, her every outfit is a soft-butch, high-fashion Halloween costume. Expect Cannes juror Kristen Stewart to start rocking the Knife + Heart ensemble of a tatty wifebeater and a leather dress within weeks. —KB

Best Eating Scene: Ash Is Purest White
Jilted gangster’s moll Qiao (Zhao Tao) goes through a lot in Jia Zhangke’s Ash Is Purest White, and at a certain point in her journey, she works up an appetite. Wandering through the streets of a river town, she happens upon a wedding party spilling out into the street. Why yes, she did go to college with the bride! Why yes, she’d love to join in the feast! What follows is some of the most cathartic and enviable noodle-eating this side of Tampopo, equal parts desperate and indulgent and scammy as all hell. —EY

Most Unexpected Cutaways: The Image Book
Jean-Luc Godard’s latest cinematic montage is mostly stitched together from classic movies and modern-day news footage of the Middle East, but he finds room for at least two surprising inclusions: A vigorous bit of gay-porn footage, and a clip from a Michael Bay film that’s so unlikely that even the legendary Godard pled dumb. —KB

Best Directorial Debut: Sauvage
The trans dance film Girl won first-time filmmaker Lukas Dhont the Camera d’Or and a Netflix pick-up, though Dhont still hasn’t figured out a good explanation for why he cast a cisgender actor as the lead. For my money, the best first film I saw at Cannes was Camille Vidal-Naquet’s poetic Sauvage, the story of a 22-year-old French hustler (played by Felix Maritaud, who also appeared in Knife + Heart). Perhaps it’s because the film debuted in Critics Week, or because it’s utterly unapologetic about its sexuality, but I didn’t hear nearly enough buzz for this film, which doesn’t set a single foot wrong and has the ending that has most stuck with me from any film I saw at Cannes this year. Regardless, try to catch it when it makes it was stateside, so you can say that you were a ground-floor fan of Vidal-Naquet. —KB

Best Acting Debut: Jeon Jong-seo, Burning
Poor Jeon Jong-seo couldn’t catch a break. As she arrived at the airport to take off to Cannes — for the premiere of her first acting performance ever — paparazzi caught up with her and captured her looking less than happy to see them. Apparently, her performance as a young ingénue eternally grateful for the spotlight didn’t go over well, but hopefully all is forgiven back home when they catch her beautiful, yearning performance in Burning as a young aimless woman who falls for a wealthy, worldly older man (Steven Yeun). Her Hae-mi could have easily been a flitty, semi-magical Murakami femme fatale, but in Jeon’s hands there’s deep hunger to her millennial malaise and a desperation to connect above everything else. A scene where she, tipsy and almost tearful, demonstrates a tribal dance for her beau’s well-heeled friends (to their derisive amusement) is still stuck in my head, days later. —EY

Best Earworm: Happy as Lazzaro, “Dreams (will come alive)
During Cannes premieres, it’s tradition for a song from the film to play for the director and cast’s arrival on the red carpet. When Alice Rohrwacher and her cast and crew ascended the red carpet for her semi-mystical time-hopping parable Happy as Lazzaro (or the much-more-fun-to-say Italian title, Lazzaro Felice) I was puzzled but delighted to hear the selection: the thumping ’90s dance-floor track “Dreams (will come alive)” by Dutch eurodance duo 2 Brothers on the 4th Floor. At first glance, it seems totally at odds with the painterly, out-of-time mood of Rohrwacher’s film, but it’s the favorite song of young aristocrat Tancredi (Luca Chikovani) that ends up becoming a beacon of sorts between him and saintly peasant Lazzaro (Adriano Tardiolo.) As such, it’s played approximately 78 times over the course of the film, but somehow, in all its chipper Dance Dance Revolution glory, it never gets old. —EY

Best Couple: Rafiki
Wanuri Kahiu’s lesbian love story, banned in her native Kenya, finds such immediate chemistry between tomboy Kena (Samantha Mugatsia) and rainbow-braided Ziki (Sheila Munyiva) that you want exactly what the characters want: a simple, radiant love uninterrupted by homophobes in their midst. Kahiu gives us that blissful high for so long that I got happy just whenever I saw Mugatsia and Munyiva on the red carpet or on the Croisette: They’re together again! —KB

14 Things We’re Still Thinking About After Cannes