Cannes Film Festival 2019: Official Competition Selection

Cannes 2019 Poster

A day ago the Cannes Film Festival unveiled its Official Competition selection, and I thought I would comment on some films that were selected to compete in the main category. I will comment on roughly half of them – nine out of nineteen, and that does not mean that others are not great or will not win and become big, and I am merely guided by my own personal interests. The first thought is that I am impressed that the selection is varied (a comedy, a science-fiction film, a war movie, a period drama and a psychological thriller are all competing alongside other drama films), and I am also pleased to see Pedro Almódovar, Terrence Malick, Ken Loach, Dardenne Brothers and Xavier Dolan competing in the same category. The expected name of Quentin Tarantino and his film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood was not announced because the film is still, apparently, being edited. The films below are listed in no particular order.

Pain and Glory Poster

I. Pain & Glory by Pedro Almodóvar

This film by Almodóvar stars Penélope Cruz and Antonio Banderas, and is about a film director who “reflects on the choices he’s made in life as past and present come crashing down around him” (IMDb). I love Almodóvar, but he has not been too even in quality regarding his latest films – though I thought The Skin I Live In (2011) was great, his film I’m So Excited! (2013) was misguided. It is nice to see Almodóvar pairing again with his muse – Penélope Cruz, and something tells me this movie could be good since the director again is in the territory of drama. The trailer certainly looks both artful and moving, and perhaps comparisons will be drawn with Federico Fellini’s 8/12 (1963). 

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20 “Must-See” Spanish-Language Films

In no particular order:

1)     Abre los Ojos (1997)

2)     All About My Mother (1999)

3)     Volver (2006)

4)     Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

5)     Sin Nombre (2009)

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“The Skin I Live In” Review

The Skin I Live In (2011)

Hailed as one of the most provocative films of the year, Pedro Almodóvar’s ‘The Skin I Live In’ is a bizarre drama about a genius plastic surgeon Dr. Robert Ledgard (Antonio Banderas) who creates a new type of human skin resistant to all sort of damage, including burns. However, haunted by his past personal tragedies – the death of his wife Gal and daughter Norma, Dr. Ledgard soon goes too far in his scientific experiments when he starts to experiment on his newly captive prisoner Vera (Elena Anaya). The film, which, incidentally, marks the first collaboration in twenty-one years between Antonio Banderas and Almodóvar (‘Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!’ (1990)), is an outstanding achievement, containing masterfully-controlled direction, brilliant film compositions and strong lead performances.

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