Cannes takes film critics by surprise

The Cannes Film Festival ended on Sunday with a few surprises: contrary to all expectations the film I, Daniel Blake by British director Ken Loach won the Palme d'Or, while the prize for best director went to the Romanian Cristian Mungiu. The press is flabbergasted.

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Politis (FR) /

Undeserved Golden Palm for Loach

From a cinematic point of view the Golden Palm for I, Daniel Blake just doesn't make sense, Politis comments:

“After he received the Golden Palm in the Palais des Festivals, Ken Loach delivered a speech against austerity: a good decision that dovetailed well with the protests that are now taking place in France in particular. I, Daniel Blake contains memorable scenes in which you recognise the signature of the humanist director with profound ties to the working class. The fact is, however, that the film suffers from its rough-edged screenplay. What's more, you'd think some of the ideas were dreamed up by a (bad) film student rather than an adept screenwriter like Paul Laverty, who has worked together with Loach for years. In comparison to other films in the competition, I, Daniel Blake clearly did not deserve this year's Golden Palm.”

Adevărul (RO) /

A pitiless diagnosis

Mungiu's film Graduation describes how a father uses tricks and contacts in Romania's corrupt education system to secure top grades for his daughter in her school-leaving exams. Author Daniela Ratiu praises the film on blog platform Adevărul:

“Director Cristian Mungiu doesn't just tell us a story. … The film is a pitiless diagnosis: a chronic cognitive dissonance that is tangible for the audience in all the dialogue and events that make the story of the protagonist complicated. The sum of small compromises adds up to form the huge mechanism of big corruption. … Perhaps it would be contrived to say that the film could change anything, but it is possible. Culture is and has always been a form of resistance, of renewal. It is like a little crack that doesn't immediately bring about change but starts as a little dot and grows larger.”