Ava DuVernay Asked Spike Lee to Hold His ‘BlacKkKlansman’ Grand Prix on the Flight Back From Cannes

He said yes, naturally.

Spike Lee received one of the biggest awards of his career yesterday at Cannes, where he won the festival’s prestigious Grand Prix (essentially second prize) for “BlacKkKlansman.” Jury president Cate Blanchett said the film is “quintessentially about an American crisis,” with fellow juror Ava DuVernay praising it as “startling and stunning” and saying she’s seen every one of Lee’s films. Which is to say, she appears to have been pleasantly surprised when she found herself on the same flight back from the festival — and asked him to hold his new prize.

“Let me tell you a small Sunday story,” the “Selma” and “A Wrinkle in Time” director tweeted. “We happened to be on the same flight back to NYC. And I happened to ask to see his history-making Cannes Grand Prix Prize. And he happened to say yes. And then me and about 27 other passengers stood there and swooned and smiled. The End.”

John David Washington, Adam Driver, Topher Grace, and Alec Baldwin star in the film, which Lee co-wrote in addition to directing. Focus Features will release “BlacKkKlansman” in theaters on August 10.

The Cannes – Oscar Connection: How Strong Will It Be This Year?

We now know what Cate Blanchett’s jury thought of the films that screened at this year’s Cannes Film Festival: “a very strong year,” she said at the jury’s festival-ending press conference. And we know what buyers thought of the festival lineup: not bad, judging by the deals.

But what will Oscar voters think?

That’s always a tricky question, because the connection between the world’s most prestigious film festival and the world’s most celebrated film award can fluctuate wildly. In 2011, for example, three of the films that screened at the festival — “The Artist,” “The Tree of Life” and “Midnight in Paris” — landed Best Picture nominations, with “The Artist” winning.

But the success rate hasn’t approached that since then, although 2016 had an impressive across-the-board showing: One Best Picture nominee (“Hell of High Water”), the Best Foreign Language Film winner (“The Salesman”), six other nominees in the Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Foreign Language Film and Best Animated Feature categories and eight more films submitted by their home countries in the foreign language race.

Also Read: ‘Shoplifters’ Wins Palme d’Or at 2018 Cannes Film Festival

Last year, though, was more typical: two foreign nominees (“The Square” and “Loveless”), one supporting actor nominee (Willem Dafoe for “The Florida Project”) and one documentary nominee (“Faces Places”), with no winners among them.

Realistically, this year’s crop of Cannes films will probably fare similarly once Oscar voters get a look at them. The only film that screened at the festival or one of its sidebars that has a significant chance of landing a Best Picture nomination is Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman,” which could well be in the conversation once U.S. audiences get a look at it later this summer.

Lee’s film, which mixes humor with incendiary anger and looks at the state of America today through a story set in the 1970s, is timely enough and strong enough to be a real player, though it will likely divide critics and audiences in America more than it did in Cannes.

Also Read: ‘BlacKkKlansman’ Cannes Review: Spike Lee Looks Back – and Forward – in Anger

Otherwise, Ron Howard’s “Solo: A Star Wars Story” seems destined for below-the-line categories at best, while a surge of attention for Paul Dano’s understated “Wildlife,” which premiered at Sundance but also screened in Cannes’ Critics’ Week sidebar, could make it a dark-horse contender in the adapted screenplay category.

A few Cannes documentaries could also have a shot, foremost among them Kevin Macdonald’s “Whitney,” which drew headlines out of Cannes for its allegations that Whitney Houston was sexually abused as a child by a relative. Wim Wenders’ “Pope Francis – A Man of His Word” will likely be in the conversation, and so might be “The State Against Mandela and the Others” and “Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blache.”

But really, the most fruitful connection between Cannes and the Oscars this year will likely come in the foreign language category. Only six of the 93 countries that submitted films to the Oscars last year chose Cannes entries, but we could easily see double that many submissions come from this year’s festival.

While the individual committees that select each country’s entry can be making their decisions on the basis of politics, cronyism and lots of other factors, a Cannes berth is a powerful sign that the film might have international interest.

Also Read: ‘Capharnaum’ Film Review: Nadine Labaki’s Searing Drama Brings Tears, Ovations

Among the no-brainer selections: Lebanon’s “Capharnaum,” the Jury Prize winner and the film that received the longest and loudest ovation of the festival; Poland’s “Cold War” from director Pawel Pawlikowski, whose last film, “Ida,” won the foreign language Oscar; Belgium’s “Girl,” which won the Camera d’Or and the Un Certain Regard performance award; Colombia’s “Birds of Passage,” from a director (Ciro Guerra) whose last film was an Oscar nominee; and Turkey’s “The Wild Pear Tree,” whose director, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, has been responsible for four previous Turkish submissions.

Kenya’s “Rafiki,” a same-sex romance that is the first Kenyan film ever accepted to the Oscars, would be an easy choice if it hadn’t been banned in its home country — though if the submitting committee is independent enough to choose it, the ban could give it a boost. First-time director A.B. Shawky’s “Yomeddine” seems likely to be the Egyptian entry, while the Cannes acting award that went to Samal Yesyamova should be enough to put “Ayka” at the top of Kazakhstan’s submission list.

The Icelandic film “Woman at War,” which was bought by Magnolia for the U.S., comes from Benedikt Erlingsson, whose brilliant “Of Horses and Men” was the country’s 2013 submission, though it may have been too weird for Oscar voters. Portugal’s soccer story “Diamantino” seems a logical choice, as does Hungary’s “One Day.”

Countries like France and Italy always have a plethora of choices, which holds true this year even if they don’t consider anything except Cannes movies. Italy, for example, could opt for Matteo Garrone’s “Dogman,” which won the festival’s best actor award and is from the director of the acclaimed “Gomorrah” (which Oscar voters didn’t go for); or Alice Rohrwacher’s “Happy as Lazzaro,” a fable that won the screenplay award and was widely thought to be a real Palme d’Or contender.

Also Read: ‘Happy as Lazzaro’ Film Review: Alice Rohrwacher Charts the Course of a Holy Fool

And France has a variety of possibilities, including Christophe Honore’s “Sorry Angel,” Stephane Brize’s “At War,” Vanessa Filho’s “Angel Face,” Gilles Lellouche’s audience-friendly “Sink or Swim,” Camille Vidal-Naquet’s “Sauvage” or even Gaspar Noe’s hallucinatory “Climax.”

But France could also opt for Eva Husson’s “Girls of the Sun,” a tough but mainstream war movie about an all-female unit fighting terrorists. It didn’t fare well with Cannes critics, but it could easily become a favorite of the Academy’s foreign language voters.

The biggest question marks might surround the Asian films. Japan, China and South Korea swing between submitting critical favorites and trying to second-guess Oscar voters by choosing less daring movies or big epics. So while China has strong candidates in Jia Zhang-Ke’s “Ash Is Purest White” or Bi Gan’s rapturously received “Long Day’s Journey Into Night,” it’s anybody’s guess as to whether their selection committee will deem those films acceptable. Likewise with South Korea and Lee Chang-dong’s “Burning,” which was clearly the hit of the festival, and Japan with Hirokazu Kore-eda’s “Shoplifters,” which won the Palme d’Or.

Also Read: ‘Shoplifters’ Cannes Review: Is the Seventh Time a Charm for Hirokazu Kore-eda?

The director of the last of those films has been down this road before. In an interview with TheWrap in 2014, Kore-eda admitted that he was disappointed when “Like Father, Like Son,” which won the Jury Prize in Cannes, was passed over in favor of “The Great Passage” when Japan made its 2013 Oscar submission.

“But honestly, given the track record of how that committee in Japan decides on their films, I was not surprised,” he said. “The committee isn’t particularly interested in the world’s criteria on these films.”

Oh, one more thing:

Lars von Trier’s “The House That Jack Built”? Not a chance.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Asia Argento Condemns Harvey Weinstein During Cannes Awards: ‘This Festival Was His Hunting Ground’ (Video)

Is the Cannes Film Festival in Decline? Not to the French

Netflix Lands Cannes Award Winners ‘Happy as Lazzaro’ and ‘Girl’

We now know what Cate Blanchett’s jury thought of the films that screened at this year’s Cannes Film Festival: “a very strong year,” she said at the jury’s festival-ending press conference. And we know what buyers thought of the festival lineup: not bad, judging by the deals.

But what will Oscar voters think?

That’s always a tricky question, because the connection between the world’s most prestigious film festival and the world’s most celebrated film award can fluctuate wildly. In 2011, for example, three of the films that screened at the festival — “The Artist,” “The Tree of Life” and “Midnight in Paris” — landed Best Picture nominations, with “The Artist” winning.

But the success rate hasn’t approached that since then, although 2016 had an impressive across-the-board showing: One Best Picture nominee (“Hell of High Water”), the Best Foreign Language Film winner (“The Salesman”), six other nominees in the Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Foreign Language Film and Best Animated Feature categories and eight more films submitted by their home countries in the foreign language race.

Last year, though, was more typical: two foreign nominees (“The Square” and “Loveless”), one supporting actor nominee (Willem Dafoe for “The Florida Project”) and one documentary nominee (“Faces Places”), with no winners among them.

Realistically, this year’s crop of Cannes films will probably fare similarly once Oscar voters get a look at them. The only film that screened at the festival or one of its sidebars that has a significant chance of landing a Best Picture nomination is Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman,” which could well be in the conversation once U.S. audiences get a look at it later this summer.

Lee’s film, which mixes humor with incendiary anger and looks at the state of America today through a story set in the 1970s, is timely enough and strong enough to be a real player, though it will likely divide critics and audiences in America more than it did in Cannes.

Otherwise, Ron Howard’s “Solo: A Star Wars Story” seems destined for below-the-line categories at best, while a surge of attention for Paul Dano’s understated “Wildlife,” which premiered at Sundance but also screened in Cannes’ Critics’ Week sidebar, could make it a dark-horse contender in the adapted screenplay category.

A few Cannes documentaries could also have a shot, foremost among them Kevin Macdonald’s “Whitney,” which drew headlines out of Cannes for its allegations that Whitney Houston was sexually abused as a child by a relative. Wim Wenders’ “Pope Francis – A Man of His Word” will likely be in the conversation, and so might be “The State Against Mandela and the Others” and “Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blache.”

But really, the most fruitful connection between Cannes and the Oscars this year will likely come in the foreign language category. Only six of the 93 countries that submitted films to the Oscars last year chose Cannes entries, but we could easily see double that many submissions come from this year’s festival.

While the individual committees that select each country’s entry can be making their decisions on the basis of politics, cronyism and lots of other factors, a Cannes berth is a powerful sign that the film might have international interest.

Among the no-brainer selections: Lebanon’s “Capharnaum,” the Jury Prize winner and the film that received the longest and loudest ovation of the festival; Poland’s “Cold War” from director Pawel Pawlikowski, whose last film, “Ida,” won the foreign language Oscar; Belgium’s “Girl,” which won the Camera d’Or and the Un Certain Regard performance award; Colombia’s “Birds of Passage,” from a director (Ciro Guerra) whose last film was an Oscar nominee; and Turkey’s “The Wild Pear Tree,” whose director, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, has been responsible for four previous Turkish submissions.

Kenya’s “Rafiki,” a same-sex romance that is the first Kenyan film ever accepted to the Oscars, would be an easy choice if it hadn’t been banned in its home country — though if the submitting committee is independent enough to choose it, the ban could give it a boost. First-time director A.B. Shawky’s “Yomeddine” seems likely to be the Egyptian entry, while the Cannes acting award that went to Samal Yesyamova should be enough to put “Ayka” at the top of Kazakhstan’s submission list.

The Icelandic film “Woman at War,” which was bought by Magnolia for the U.S., comes from Benedikt Erlingsson, whose brilliant “Of Horses and Men” was the country’s 2013 submission, though it may have been too weird for Oscar voters. Portugal’s soccer story “Diamantino” seems a logical choice, as does Hungary’s “One Day.”

Countries like France and Italy always have a plethora of choices, which holds true this year even if they don’t consider anything except Cannes movies. Italy, for example, could opt for Matteo Garrone’s “Dogman,” which won the festival’s best actor award and is from the director of the acclaimed “Gomorrah” (which Oscar voters didn’t go for); or Alice Rohrwacher’s “Happy as Lazzaro,” a fable that won the screenplay award and was widely thought to be a real Palme d’Or contender.

And France has a variety of possibilities, including Christophe Honore’s “Sorry Angel,” Stephane Brize’s “At War,” Vanessa Filho’s “Angel Face,” Gilles Lellouche’s audience-friendly “Sink or Swim,” Camille Vidal-Naquet’s “Sauvage” or even Gaspar Noe’s hallucinatory “Climax.”

But France could also opt for Eva Husson’s “Girls of the Sun,” a tough but mainstream war movie about an all-female unit fighting terrorists. It didn’t fare well with Cannes critics, but it could easily become a favorite of the Academy’s foreign language voters.

The biggest question marks might surround the Asian films. Japan, China and South Korea swing between submitting critical favorites and trying to second-guess Oscar voters by choosing less daring movies or big epics. So while China has strong candidates in Jia Zhang-Ke’s “Ash Is Purest White” or Bi Gan’s rapturously received “Long Day’s Journey Into Night,” it’s anybody’s guess as to whether their selection committee will deem those films acceptable. Likewise with South Korea and Lee Chang-dong’s “Burning,” which was clearly the hit of the festival, and Japan with Hirokazu Kore-eda’s “Shoplifters,” which won the Palme d’Or.

The director of the last of those films has been down this road before. In an interview with TheWrap in 2014, Kore-eda admitted that he was disappointed when “Like Father, Like Son,” which won the Jury Prize in Cannes, was passed over in favor of “The Great Passage” when Japan made its 2013 Oscar submission.

“But honestly, given the track record of how that committee in Japan decides on their films, I was not surprised,” he said. “The committee isn’t particularly interested in the world’s criteria on these films.”

Oh, one more thing:

Lars von Trier’s “The House That Jack Built”? Not a chance.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Asia Argento Condemns Harvey Weinstein During Cannes Awards: 'This Festival Was His Hunting Ground' (Video)

Is the Cannes Film Festival in Decline? Not to the French

Netflix Lands Cannes Award Winners 'Happy as Lazzaro' and 'Girl'

Variety Critics Name the 12 Best Movies From Cannes 2018

The 71st Cannes Film Festival may have gotten off to a bumpy start, underwhelming audiences with Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s Spanish-language “Everybody Knows” and taking several days to serve up anything that felt universally praised (eventual P…

The 71st Cannes Film Festival may have gotten off to a bumpy start, underwhelming audiences with Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s Spanish-language “Everybody Knows” and taking several days to serve up anything that felt universally praised (eventual Palme d’Or winner Hirokazu Kore-eda’s “Shoplifters”), but by the end, even those who had arrived skeptical seemed to agree […]

Cannes 2018: The 11 Best Movies of This Year’s Festival

We spend two weeks in the south of France watching some of the most exciting new cinema from around the world. Here are the highlights.

The 2018 Cannes Film Festival has ended, but the movies are very much still with us. This year’s festival started with a Netflix controversy and hosted major activism around women in the film industry. But despite the many conversations swirling around the festival environment, Cannes was still a film festival. So how were those movies, anyway?

Early on, this year’s program was assailed for lacking star power and many A-list auteurs, but in retrospect, not of that skepticism really gelled with a selection that ranged from newcomers to veterans, and from stars to fresh faces — and it all cast an exciting spotlight on movies from around the world. Here are the best of the bunch.

“Arctic”

"Arctic"

“Arctic”

Cannes

This may be a low bar to clear, but Joe Penna’s directorial feature debut is one of the best movies ever made about a man stranded in the wilderness. Mads Mikkelsen, throwing himself into an Iceland shoot that could probably have made for a compelling survival story unto itself, gives a career-best performance as a downed pilot named Overgård. We join his nearly wordless ordeal at some point after his plane has crashed into a deep white valley in the middle of nowhere. At first, it seems like a familiar setup, but the cast soon doubles in size when Overgård is forced to care for the helicopter pilot who crashes while trying to rescue him. Maybe there are some places where people just aren’t supposed to fly.

“Arctic” is such an involving experience because Penna finds ways to infuse real drama into potentially mundane details; we always know where the characters are and what’s at stake with each step, so that watching Mikkelsen turn a sled into a makeshift shelter achieves the excitement of a major setpiece. It’s broad stuff, and well-trod terrain for a movie that takes place in uncharted territory, but it cuts straight to the difference between endurance and survival. Movies like this are typically only exciting because the hero might die. “Arctic” is so compelling because Overgård might not. —DE

BlacKkKlansman

Spike Lee made a triumphant return to the Croisette after 20 years with the angry and hugely entertaining “BlacKkKlansman,” which took home the Grand Prix. “Get Out” director Jordan Peele called Lee out of blue to see if he wanted to direct an adaptation of Ron Stallworth’s memoir “Black Klansman: Race, Hate, and the Undercover Investigation of a Lifetime,” the story of a young black man who became the first police officer in Colorado Springs. Lee instantly saw how to make the movie work — connect it to the age of Trump — and called in “Chi-Raq” co-writer Kevin Willmott. They put Trump catch-phrases like “America First” into the mouths of the KKK, along with torrents of incendiary hate-speak. The colorful dialogue spewing out of mouths of David Duke (Topher Grace), the KKK, and Stallworth (played by Denzel Washington’s son, John David Washington, familiar from “Ballers” and “Monster”) is extraordinary to hear. The movie is outrageous, hilarious and serious, all at the same time. It couldn’t be more timely. Or timeless.  —AT

“Burning”

“Burning”

Eight years had passed since Korean filmmaker Lee Chang-dong brought another movie to Cannes. Lee, a precise filmmaker whose patient character studies are among some of the richest in world cinema today, doesn’t need to rush. Of course it was worth the wait: Combing forces with Haruki Murakami by adapting his short story “Barn Burning,” Lee develops a haunting, beautiful tone poem about working class frustrations, based around the experiences of frustrated wannabe writer Lee (a superb, understated Ah-in Yoo) who thinks he’s found an escape from his loneliness when he encounters Haimi (energetic newcomer Jean Jong Seo), a lively woman from his past with whom he sees romantic possibilities. That situation gets complicated by the arrival of Ben (Steven Yeung), a wealthy and assertive stranger with an American name who represents everything Lee wants in life. The filmmaker develops a fascinating, allegorical mystery around these circumstances as the drama builds to a shocking confrontation that asks as many questions as it answers. “Burning” is at once a social parable for lower class struggles and an intimate portrait of struggling for companionship and assertiveness in an indifferent world. That’s typical Lee Chang-dong territory, and it’s a thrill to have him back. —EK

“Capernaum”

Actress-writer-director Nadine Labaki follows up “Caramel” and “Where Do We Go Now?” with a brilliant fictional take on children in poverty, matching non-pros with roles they can inhabit with ease, from Zain Al Rafeea, who plays the angry yet humane 12-year-old boy who sues his parents for giving him life, to an undocumented Ethiopian woman (Yordanos Shiferaw) with an adorable son Yonas — a girl who learned to walk on camera.  Not unlike “Slumdog Millionaire,” Labaki’s challenging shoot in the slums of Beirut teems with vital street life, filth and horror. This likely Oscar submission from Lebanon provoked sobs at Cannes showings, and it really worked for the Cannes jury, which awarded it the Jury Prize. —AT

“Climax”

“Climax”

Wild Bunch

Gaspar Noé returned to Cannes by conquering the one area of the festival he had yet to screen, winning the top prize at Directors’ Fortnight for his trippy LSD-gone-wrong dance saga “Climax.” This visually striking achievement, picked up by A24 during the festival, funnels the director’s penchant for acrobatic camerawork into an alternately snazzy and disturbing look at the dissolution of community in a single, claustrophobic setting. The camera twirls around, peering up and down at its doomed characters as they careen into the depths of a drug-induced frenzy, as hypnotic beats dominate the soundtrack. But no matter its nauseating effects, Noé’s remarkable psychedelic ride is his most focused achievement, a concise package of sizzling dance numbers and jolting (often quite violent) twists that play like a slick mashup of the “Step Up” franchise and “Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom,” not to mention the disorienting cinematic trickery of Noé’s own provocative credits. After so many movies designed to divide people, it’s exciting to watch the provocateur entice his audience with catchy rhythms before dragging them to hell. This wild, unpredictable achievement will get people talking, which is nothing new for Noé, but it could also win him some fresh admirers. If so, they’re long overdue, and welcome to the party. It’s wild place. —EK

“Cold War”

“Ida” Oscar-winner Pawel Pawlikowski’s stunning black-and-white 50s romance “Cold War” — which took home Best Director and is a likely Polish Oscar contender as well — is about how fucked-up national politics prevent you from being your authentic self. Loosely inspired by his two parents, who got together and broke up several times over the years and seemed to always be at odds with one another, Pawlikowski traces his star-crossed lovers’ trajectory across Stalin-era Eastern Europe through divided Berlin to free-wheeling Paris and back to the oppressive chill of Poland. The movie blows hot and cold, passionately sexy one minute, dark and chilly the next. It’s also a personal film for a filmmaker who seeks to probe the unfathomable mysteries of love. And it breaks out Pawlikowski’s frequent muse Joanna Kelig, whose future is in vivid color. —AT

“Happy as Lazzaro”

Alice Rohrwacher’s surreal follow-up to her previous Cannes winner “The Wonders” expands on her ongoing study of the way rural life is constantly threatened by urban progress. But this time, she expands on her naturalistic style with a welcome dose of magical realism, following the tale of Lazzaro (extraordinary discovery (Adriano Tardiolo), a peasant who serves an affluent family in the countryside. The life of Lazzaro and his peers seemingly exists out of time, until sudden events sent him traveling into a future state where he doesn’t quite belong. A fascinating, poetic statement on the endless march of time, “Lazzaro” fulfills the promise of Rohrwatcher’s earlier achievements while cementing her status as one of Italy’s greatest working directors. —EK

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Cannes Film Festival 2018: Winners and Losers Inside the Perfect Storm

Prizewinners like “Black KkKlansman” and “Shoplifters” prove that there was no shortage of art — but is that enough for Cannes to live on?

Cannes must serve many masters. Over 70 years, the festival has expanded to fulfill many sets of expectations: red-carpet black-tie glamour from the biggest movie stars, breaking news and celebrity interviews for the 4,000 global press, a vital film market for international buyers and sellers, and of course the films that will be assessed by the media and world’s most exacting critics.

But this year, festival director Thierry Fremaux found himself in a perfect storm. With a shrinking smart-film market that offers narrow margins of error, a Cannes acceptance can inspire equal measures of pride and terror. Fremaux probably should have changed the timing for critics’ screenings years ago, before so many festival regulars — from Canadian enfant terrible Xavier Dolan to lauded French auteurs Jacques Audiard and Olivier Assayas — opted out of attending in favor of the less-risky, Oscar-friendly fall festival circuit.

Spike Lee at Cannes

“Cannes can be brutal if you don’t get the right reception,” said Spike Lee, who soaked up applause for “BlacKkKlansman.” “That’s hard. It’s good to get the flip side.” Indeed: Lee came out of Cannes with the Grand Prix and strong buzz for an August opener. “I’ll say that as an African-American filmmaker, I was completely taken by the film,” said juror Ava DuVernay at the post-awards jury press conference, “as a person who has imbibed every Spike Lee film and seen everything he’s ever made.”

While the Palais’ flapping seats are long gone, boos and nasty tweets remain. In the end, the festival proved kinder and more accommodating to the media, who responded by happily accepting simultaneous evening viewings of the nightly gala premieres with roomier theaters — even if they had to file every night and missed more parties. “We love you,” Fremaux said to the media at the Cannes press dinner. “We are writing the future together.”

Shoplifters Hirokazu Kore-eda

“Shoplifters”

Finally, Cate Blanchett’s jury had plenty of strong auteurs to assess, from Lee’s incendiary “BlacKkKlansman” (Focus Features) and Best Director Pawel Pawlikowski’s bittersweet period romance “Cold War” (Amazon Studios) to two poverty-row melodramas, Hirozaku Kore-eda’s “Shoplifters” — which won the Palme d’Or and a Magnolia deal — and Nadine Labaki’s “Capernaum” (Sony Pictures Classics) which scored the Jury Prize. “Honestly, it was like the summer camp of my dreams,” gushed juror Kristen Stewart. “It felt like a consolidated 10-day film school.”

Clearly, Fremaux fought to bring two old Cannes favorites to the Croisette. Brit veteran Terry Gilliam prevailed over his legal woes (as well as a minor stroke) to screen “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote” for buyers (after Amazon Studios dropped out) and press, who seemed receptive and grateful that the long-cursed movie finally had its day.

But why did Fremaux go to battle for “The House that Jack Built” as the film to return the once-banned Lars von Trier to the Cannes fold? The grizzled Danish provocateur seemed shaky and querulous on the red carpet and during (limited) interviews on his decidedly Out of Competition title, which alienated as many people as it pleased. He has every right to make his transgressive serial killer movie, but that material is well-trod ground. Matt Dillon’s rampaging attacker who mangles and mutilates a series of female victims struck a grotesque note at a festival that also tried to argue that it was becoming more welcoming to women.

“Under the Silver Lake”

A24

Riley Keogh, who played one of the unfortunate women in “The House that Jack Built,” also turned up as a film noir femme fatale in another misogynistic movie, “Under the Silver Lake” (A24), that was tarnished under the Competition spotlight. No wonder she chose not to attend. Cannes Critics’ Week regular David Robert Mitchell’s meandering follow-up to breakout “It Follows” underwhelmed. Boasting multiple A-list indie producers, “Under the Silver Lake” is a classic case of a post-hit filmmaker running with the chance to finance his pet project. There’s plenty to like in the shapeless showbiz navel-gazer (that bears some resemblance to last year’s surreal “mother!”), as Tony-nominated Andrew Garfield, who’s starring on Broadway in “Angels in America,” carries the movie as best he can. But unless Mitchell goes back into the editing room, this movie will be DOA with audiences.

Much of what happened at Cannes stayed in Cannes, but one moment traveled. Organized by the French #TimesUp organization 5050 x 2020 and supported by the Cannes Festival, the memorable image of Cannes 2018 was 82 women standing on the Palais red carpet to protest women’s inequality in the movie business — on their way into the gala for Eva Husson’s well-mounted Kurdish women-at-war movie, “Girls of the Sun,” one of only three films directed by women in the Competition.

“Capernaum”

Fremaux has caught flak for undervaluing female filmmakers, from those shunted into sidebars Directors Fortnight and Un Certain Regard, to ones whose films never got shown at the festival at all. He’s getting blasted as an icon for a generation of white male privilege, even as the festival played along with the many women’s panels and protests about how to advance women in the industry going forward. The festival promises more transparency and parity ahead.

Of the three films directed by women in the Competition, Italian Alice Rohrwacher’s lyrical folk fable “Happy as Lazzaro” landed the best reviews (RT: 90 percent), sharing the screenwriting prize and scoring a Netflix buy. Husson’s much-criticized “Girls of the Sun” (RT: 31 percent), a straightforward but badly-structured war movie about women fighting back, left Cannes empty-handed.

Read More: ‘The Man Who Killed Don Quixote’ Review: Terry Gilliam’s Long-Delayed Passion Project Is Sloppy, But Not a Total Disappointment

Nadine Labaki’s heartwrenching poverty-row saga “Capernaum” (RT: 63 percent) took home the Jury Prize. Sony Pictures Classics stepped up May 10 to land the likely Lebanese Oscar submission for a reported $1.3 million based on the script. SPC didn’t attend the Paris screening, which didn’t have subtitles, but Gaumont did, and uncharacteristically outbid French buyers; the venerable distributor doesn’t often buy art films, so that drove up the price.

Were there other strong women contenders that could have been included? As Blanchett stated from the day-one jury conference, adding more women programmers is key. Debra Granik’s superb father-daughter Oregon survival drama “Leave No Trace” (Bleecker Street) played well in Director’s Fortnight, where many Sundance titles wind up.

Cannes 2018 brought a sense of gears shifting in more ways than one, as an older generation of leaders yields to new ways of doing things. At the “Solo” afterparty, Academy governor and Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy, who is spearheading several #TimesUp initiatives, stated flatly, “It’s the end of an era.”

Zinzi Evans and Ryan CooglerRyan Coogler photocall, 71st Cannes Film Festival, France - 10 May 2018

Zinzi Evans and Ryan Coogler at Cannes photo-call

James Gourley/REX/Shutterstock

Adding Ryan Coogler and Christopher Nolan to the mix with in-depth conversations, a beach screening for “Black Panther” and a Nolan intro to a 70 mm presentation of “2001: A Space Odyssey” (with scratchy analog sound) was a popular move. Both events were packed. Coogler was happy to thank the festival for embracing “Fruitvale,” which provided his first trip outside the United State  cs, while Nolan has never been able to show his films at Cannes; Warner Bros. sees no need to gain festival cred to boost ticket sales. This was a clever way to get the receptive Brit to the Croisette.

Kevin Macdonald’s documentary “Whitney” (July 6) played like gangbusters at the midnight screening at the Palais, attended by the late singer’s brother Pat Houston. Although the films are very different, Roadside Attractions made the call to screen it at Cannes and follow the “Amy” playbook, recognizing that the film’s shocking reveal of Houston’s sexual abuse by Dee Dee Warwick would break at Cannes.

On the other hand, bringing in Gary Oldman after winning the Oscar for “Darkest Hour” felt like a desperate old-news move, but not nearly as much as carting in John Travolta to celebrate the 40th anniversary of “Grease” with a screening as well as new B-movie “Gotti,” which scored execrable reviews. At Cannes’ official dinner for press, Fremaux demurred, suggesting he had nothing to do with booking that “unofficial” movie.

Alden Ehrenreich at Cannes

Cannes also felt the need to showcase Disney/Lucasfilm’s “Solo: A Star Wars Story” in order to give the international press hordes and the celebrity-starved paparazzi something to do. (Ron Howard has accompanied three out-of-competition movies to Cannes: “Far and Away,” “The Da Vinci Code,” and “EDtv.”) The Carlton Beach afterparty boasted Donald Glover chatting up Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Alden Ehrenreich — who reminded me he debuted at Cannes in Francis Coppola’s “Tetro” almost a decade ago — his movie love-interest Emilia Clarke, Lucasfilm’s Kennedy and her eminence grise, Lawrence Kasdan. (“I’ve relied on him for years,” she said.)

Disney motion picture chairman Alan Horn hung with Kennedy’s fellow Academy Governor Nancy Utley, who admitted there wasn’t much for Fox Searchlight to acquire in this year’s market. Before long she will likely be working for Horn. Cannes needed those magnificent exploding fireworks over the Mediterranean.

Fremaux isn’t responsible for the global film market, which is shrinking swiftly while streamers like Netflix grow, but is pushed up by China and Korea. France is in a bubble with protections that feed producers, exhibitors and television channels. The action in screening rooms for buyers and in meetings at the Grand Hotel was visibly diminished, along with fewer posters on display at the Carlton and along the Croisette.

“Cold War”

Last year’s outspoken juror, producer-actress Jessica Chastain, kicked up some attention with her “355,” bringing her starry cast — Fan Bingbing, Marion Cotillard, Jessica Chastain, Penélope Cruz and Lupita Nyong’o — to the Croisette for a photo call heard round the world. Her film sold to Universal for $20 million.

Focus had a strong festival, bringing Oscar-winner Oldman as well as launching “BlacKkKlansman” and Wim Wenders’ out-of-competition documentary “Pope Francis: A Man of His World” before its May 18 opening in North America. Amazon Studios got a boost for Best Director Pawlikowski’s “Cold War,” a sure Polish Oscar nominee.

Netflix reportedly went after Asghar Farhadi’s “Everybody Knows,” starring Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem, which went to Focus; Mads Mikkelsen vehicle “Arctic,” which Bleecker scooped up; and Colombian drug-trade drama “Birds of Passage,” which went to The Orchard. Netflix pays well, but usually demands worldwide rights which are often unavailable. And producers sometimes fear leaving money on the table by taking only one check from Netflix and abandoning the buzz and branding of a theatrical release.

Netflix contented itself by paying $30 million for the animated feature “Next Gen,” starring  Charlyne Yi and Jason Sudeikis. And as the awards were announced, Netflix sent out a press release that it acquired the award-winning “Happy as Lazzaro” and transgender drama “Girl.”

Even after refusing to bring its out-of-competition films to the festival, Netflix had a strong presence with the much-discussed absence of Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma” and two Orson Welles films. Even Serge Toubiana, the new president of Unifrance, admitted that while he loved seeing a Jean-Luc Godard film in Competition (“The Image Book” won a rare special prize), the movie would be best served with a Netflix, not a theatrical release. Mubi picked it up. And word is that “The Image Book” will play in France on television via Arte, and not in theaters. What about France’s rules against playing films in Competition that don’t show in theaters?

Even now, the French are working to overhaul their archaic distribution system. Toubiana says that by next year, laws dictating a 36-month theatrical exclusive window will be changed as exhibitors, distributors, and producers negotiate new terms. “The majority of people want change,” Toubiana told me. “They want to make the windows shorter — four months, six months maybe? It’s a fight. Most films are staying in theaters three weeks, maybe four.” Still, that won’t change Cannes’ stance against Netflix, which still sits at the end of a long set of French windows.

Ultimately, where critics and festival programmers were well fed, the media needing to deliver robust features complained about not having enough meaty stories. Cannes cannot live on the Competition alone, and many were left wondering if we’re heading for a smaller, less-glossy Cannes. Critics love this bastion of art film, but someone has to pay them to come here. It’s a vicious circle.

“Cinema has lost a part of itself,” said Toubiana. “We have to acclimate to this new period of cinema.”

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Cate Blanchett Calls Spike Lee’s Cannes-Winning ‘BlacKkKlansman’ a Film ‘That Is Quintessentially About an American Crisis’

Ava DuVernay and Léa Seydoux praised the film as well.

After awarding “BlacKkKlansman” the Cannes Film Festival’s coveted Grand Prix just now, the festival’s jury led by Cate Blanchett revealed why Spike Lee’s film about an “American crisis” spoke to such a diverse group in so meaningful a way.

“Obviously, this is an international film festival,” said Blanchett at a press conference following the ceremony. “We talked a lot about when a film transcends the limitations of its culture. Spike has made a film that is quintessentially about an American crisis and yet all of us felt connected to it. That, we felt, really elevated its importance even more.”

Fellow jury member Ava DuVernay offered her thoughts as well. “As an African American filmmaker, I was completely taken by the film,” she said. “I’ve imbibed every film he’s ever made. It was startling and stunning. But when I walked into the jury room, I decided to listen to my jury members. It was a robust dialogue…emotion and energy from these artists from all over the world.” DuVernay noted the different gender and sexual identities of the group, but added that “we were united by the love of cinema … There were questions specifically about the African-American experience and this moment we’re in, in America.”

For fellow juror Léa Seydoux, “it was fundamental to us that we award that film. The world is changing and we believe that the film stunningly portrays these changes, and we felt it was absolutely necessary to give it a prize. It’s a great film that conveys a message.”

Blanchett also addressed Jean-Luc Godard, whose “The Image Book” won an unprecedented Special Palme d’Or. “We saw the film and we could not stop talking about it,” she said. “We had a very short amount of time. We tried to meet once a day. It lingered with us, confused, provoked, angered and excited us.

“It actually began to influence our perspective on the festival. We felt that as an artist who is continuing to experiment and be alive to the art of cinema we felt that this film was profoundly important. It’s not an honorary Palme d’Or. Of course it’s in the context of his body of work as an artist.”

Japanese Director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s ‘Shoplifters’ Wins Palme d’Or at Cannes

CANNES — Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda won the Palme d’Or at the 71st Cannes Film Festival for his film “Shoplifters,” a moving portrait of a self-made family scraping by at the bottom of Japanese society whose secret ultimately jeopardizes…

CANNES — Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda won the Palme d’Or at the 71st Cannes Film Festival for his film “Shoplifters,” a moving portrait of a self-made family scraping by at the bottom of Japanese society whose secret ultimately jeopardizes their ability to stay together. American director Spike Lee won the Grand Prix for his blaxploitation-styled […]