Best Of Cannes 2011

The best moments of this years film festival

We have been in Cannes since the festival began last week. Since then we have seen highs and lows, laughed and cried, so we thought the best way to tell you about all of this was to compile a Best Of list.

So here is’s Best Of Cannes List…

Theme of the festival: Abuse

When we first got here, we thought that the 64th Cannes Film festival was just an arthouse frenzy, turns out it was also the year of abuse films. We saw parental abuse (We Need to Talk About Kevin), child abuse (Michael and to an extent, The Tree of Life), sexual abuse (Snowtown), abuse of power (The Skin I Live In) and rape (Snowtown, Skoonheid and many others). We also saw a recurring theme in depression (Melancholia and This Must Be The Place). A cheerful year at Cannes!

Most walkouts during a movie: Snowtown

The violence was just too much for some. We soldiered on, but it was touch and go for a while…

Most spontaneous rounds of applause during a screening: Drive

Ryan Gosling is particularly badass in Drive, and every time he took a bad guy down – and there was a few of them – the audience burst into delighted applause. It was the Cannes version of shouting HELL YEAH! at the screen.

Film that polarised critics: The Tree of Life

We were highly excited about seeing Terrence Malick’s latest. We queued from 7am and ran up the Red Steps to get a seat. We were not disappointed. We walked out slack jawed and happy, not everyone felt the same. A guy on the ground floor of the theatre booed so loudly, a few seconds before the end, that everyone told him to shut up, then jumped to their feet in rapturous applause to drown him out. Well, we did anyway. The reviews are mixed, but the result is the same: Go and see The Tree of Life.

Best performance by a dog: The Artist

The dog in The Artist is basically George (Jean Dujardin)’s sidekick. He is very cute – the dog that is – but he also manages to be funny and eventually becomes George’s saviour.

Best performance by an actor in a leading role: Sean Penn – This Must Be The Place

He’s amazing. What more can we say?

Best performance by an actress in a leading role: Berenice Bejo – The Artist

We love Tilda, we really do, but Bejo lit up the screen in The Artist as the cute, feisty Peppy Miller. We melted in the moment where she puts her arm through George’s coat and pretend it’s him hugging her… Sigh.

Best performance by a child actor: Daniel Connors – Toomelah

The film centres around Daniel and he does not disappoint. He is funny, angry and understated with a surprising grasp of foul language. We feel we’ll see him on the big screen again.

Best use of slow motion: Drive

Melancholia had it until we saw Drive on Thursday night. Melancholia’s slow motion shots are beautiful and completely engaging, but the slow motion shot in the elevator in Drive gave us chills.

Best Laugh: Sean Penn – This Must Be The Place

We all know that Brad Pitt has an amazing laugh, shame he doesn’t use it in The Tree of Life. Sean Penn’s laugh as Cheyenne in This Must Be The Place is brilliant, and completely fits the character. Good job, Mr Penn!

Person who polarised… Everyone: Lars Von Trier

We thought the biggest argument in the festival would be about Mel Gibson appearing on the Red Steps for The Beaver, but then Lars Von Trier got himself into a lot of hot water at the Press Conference for Melancholia. Agree or disagree with his statements and the decision to make him persona non grata at Cannes, he is the person that everyone is talking about.

Favourite Person of the Festival: Pedro Almodovar

We were lucky enough to have a quick chat with Tilda Swinton at We Need To Talk About Kevin, but we loved her anyway. Pedro Almodovar was articulate, clever and funny when we met him. We are in love.

Honourable mention to Antonio Banderas for his dancing, waving and general shenanigans on the Red Steps at the official screening of The Skin I Live In.

Most Random Sighting: Uma Thurman

Uma wins for getting out of a car beside us on La Croisette and striding off with purpose. She’s about 8 feet tall, and gorgeous!

Most elusive person of the festival: Robert DeNiro

No one has seen him. And we mean NO-ONE!

Most misleading title in competition: Sleeping Beauty

Disney fairy tale this was not. We were highly surprised!

Film we were most excited about: The Tree of Life / Melancholia

Words – Brogen Hayes