For 12 days in May, art and excess collide on the French Riviera as the Cannes Film Festival takes over. Unknown stars of arthouse gems walk the same red carpet as some of the most famous people in the world. For every Parasite that premieres there, a Top Gun: Maverick does too.
In competition, legendary filmmakers like David Cronenberg (Crimes of the Future) and Claire Denis (Stars at Noon) premiered their latest movies alongside new blood, like Belgium’s Lukas Dhont (Close) and France’s Léonore Serraile (Mother and Son), who each made their competition debuts. Other juries picked the best out of the festival’s copious sidebars: Un Certain Regard, a platform for newer filmmakers; the Director’s Fortnight, where Oscar-winner Chloe Zhao once bowed her Nomadland predecessor The Rider; and Critics Week, where Julia Ducournau and Guillermo del Toro got their big breaks.
But free from the pressure of jury judging, starrier titles like Baz Luhrmann’s dazzling Elvis and George Miller’s sweeping new fantasy-slash-love story Three Thousand Years of Longing were allowed to have their fun, setting the red carpet alight.
If you’ve only managed to catch the fashion from this year’s event, or have been buried beneath the sheer magnitude of it all, don’t worry. These are the 10 best movies that played at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
The Eight Mountains
Four years after directing the Timothée Chalamet-starrer Beautiful Boy, Felix van Groeningen teams up with co-director Charlotte Vandermeersch for this lovingly made adaptation of Paolo Cognetti’s The Eight Mountains. Set at first in 1970s Italy, but edging into the early 21st century as it progresses, it charts the tight-knit relationship between two young men who meet again later in life under sad circumstances. Together, they build a house in the Italian mountains and confront the paths they’ve taken in life. It’s slow-burn cinema set against a stunning backdrop; a moving story of platonic male friendship.