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The Winners of Cannes 2018 and Where to Find Them

Netflix picked up two of this year’s honored movies, while others are coming soon to theaters.
By  · Published on May 21st, 2018

Netflix picked up two of this year’s honored movies, while others are coming soon to theaters.

The 71st Cannes Film Festival has ended, and between having its own women’s march, bringing Star Wars back to the festival, seeing the return of Lars von Trier, and hearing Asia Argento’s searing awards ceremony speech, this year was as eventful and political as ever.

And politics are certainly reflected in the winners of this year’s top prizes in the festival’s main competition. No, Cate Blanchett and the rest of the jury did not renege on their promise to remain impartial. Instead, the winners list showcases a wonderfully diverse range of artistic voices through a variety of empathetic stories. We’re stoked to see them all, so here’s a quick guide into the Cannes greats of 2018 and when they’re expected to make their way to the general public.

Palme d’Or: Shoplifters

The first Japanese film to win the coveted Palme d’Or since The Eel in 1997, Hirokazu Kore-eda‘s Shoplifters provides a fresh look into the dynamics of an impoverished family. Partaking in several criminal enterprises in the name of survival, the family in question primarily shoplifts to make a living for themselves while on the very fringes of Tokyo society. The strength of their bond keeps them afloat. However, when the family also informally adopts a homeless girl into their household, they invite scrutiny into their unconventional dynamic. Shoplifters is a nuanced take on an age-old question: can found families exist and thrive? The film has critics buzzing over its universality and richness.

This isn’t the first time that a Kore-eda feature has been honored at Cannes. His self-professed precursor to ShopliftersLike Father, Like Son — took home the Jury Prize and a commendation from the Ecumenical Jury five years ago.

How to see it: Theatrically later this year. Magnolia Pictures, which put out last year’s Palme d’Or winner, The Square (which was also nominated for an Oscar), has snapped up the rights to distribute Shoplifters in the US.

Grand Prix: BlacKkKlansman

Spike Lee‘s latest appearance at Cannes feels like a legitimate comeback for an inventive director, who in addition to this Grand Prix win also received another Palme d’Or nomination this year, his second since Do The Right Thing back in 1989. BlacKkKlansman sports all the signature elements of Lee at his best — although I’ve lost count of how many people just call the film “angry” in summary. The timeliness of a movie about a black cop infiltrating the Ku Klux Klan cannot be ignored, but Lee’s stylistic choices as director, particularly his decision to go funny on such a dark topic, puts the film on our radar as something to really pay attention to. That six-minute standing ovation that it received definitely doesn’t hurt either. Nor does its special mention from the Ecumenical Jury.

How to see it: Theatrically this summer. BlacKkKlansman is scheduled to hit US theaters on August 10th courtesy of Focus Features.

Best Director: Paweł Pawlikowski, for Cold War

It took Pawel Pawlikowski three years to unveil the follow-up to his masterful drama Ida, which took home the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2015. But the wait seems well worth it, as Cold War sounds like precisely the sort of character study and family drama that Pawlikowski excels at making. Based loosely on the lives of his own parents, Cold War is a love story of epic and tragic proportions. As hinted by the title, notions of ideology get tied up in personhood, and the film’s political backdrop plays a crucial role in the development of this relationship.

How to see it: Theatrical then Streaming. Amazon Studios picked up the film last year before it was finished and will release theatrically before adding it to their streaming title library.

Best Screenplay: (tie) Alice Rohrwacher, for Happy as Lazzaro; and Jafar Panahi and Nader Saeivar, for Three Faces

As with last year’s Best Screenplay category, two films have been spotlighted for this award this year. Alice Rohrwacher‘s Happy as Lazzaro is a coming-of-age movie featuring a naive 20-year-old farmer’s unexpected bond with a young nobleman. However, life and reality eventually unravel as this supposedly quaint drama about an exploitative friendship takes an experimental turn. Rohrwacher is also a repeat Cannes winner; she took home the Grand Prix for her 2014 feature, The Wonders.

Meanwhile, Jafar Panahi‘s directorial successor to his impeccable docufiction piece Taxi has also been recognized this year. Three Faces is Panahi’s fourth film under his 20-year filmmaking ban, which automatically makes it intriguing. Like Taxi, Three Faces, which was co-written by Nader Saeivar, is low-key to the point of deceptiveness. The film centers on an aspiring actress in Iran who suddenly vanishes. In the wake of her disappearance, she sends out a call for help to Iranian actress Behnaz Jafari in the wake of her family’s disapproval of her intended profession. Panahi and Jafari, who play versions of themselves, then travel to the missing girl’s small hometown to figure out what happened. In what is bound to be another amalgam of fact and fiction which critiques established social norms, Three Faces already sounds memorable.

How to see them: Netflix has acquired the rights to distribute Happy as Lazzaro in the US and in Latin America, likely to stream later this year. As for Three Faces, the film still seeks US distribution.

Best Actress: Samal Yeslyamova, for Ayka

It came as no surprise that Samal Yeslyamova‘s performance was singled out in Ayka. It’s a movie where one woman is pushed to her very limits — physically, emotionally and mentally speaking. Yeslyamova portrays a protagonist who has just had a baby that she cannot afford to raise alongside her mounting debts. She doesn’t have a roof to call her own and can’t find a sustainable job, and quite literally must do anything to survive, including abandoning her child. Ayka is the much darker follow-up for director Sergey Dvortsevoy, whose previous feature, Tulpan, won the Un Certain Regard award 10 years ago. Ayka certainly puts audiences to the test, especially when placing a woman in such an extreme and unforgiving role.

How to see it: TBD. At the moment, Ayka does not have a US distributor.

Best Actor: Marcello Fonte, for Dogman

Erstwhile Grand Prix winner Matteo Garrone returns to Cannes with his latest feature, Dogman, which dissects machismo via its supposedly unassuming protagonist: a dog groomer. Inspired by a real-life murder, the film depicts Marcello Fonte as the titular character who finds himself in subjugation to a violent former boxer. Multiple run-ins with him lead Marcello on a path of revenge in order to regain some kind of agency over his identity. Dogman, which Garrone began drafting 12 years ago, is said to reflect the themes of his 2009 feature, Gomorrah.

How to see it: TBD. In anticipation of its Cannes premiere, Dogman was actually acquired by a ton of foreign distributors, including HanWay in the UK. But nothing yet for a US release. However, Fonte’s win could draw enough attention for something in the near future.

Jury Prize: Capernaum

Nadine Labaki‘s Lebanese drama doesn’t sound like too much fun, per se — after all, Capernaum is about a 12-year-old boy who brings a lawsuit upon his parents in order to attain some kind of personhood in his poverty-stricken life. Yet that kind of subject matter is precisely what’s so fascinating about it. Capernaum is also a film that’s bound to be highlighted for the talents of its cast of non-professional actors, which could be part of Labaki’s signature brand; she successfully directed a different cast of non-actors in a prior feature, Where Do We Go Now?, which was commended by the 2011 Ecumenical Jury. Enthusiasm for Capernaum has definitely been reflected in the audience reaction at Cannes as well; the film received a 15-minute standing ovation. And the film won the Ecumenical Jury Prize.

How to see it: Theatrically in December. Sony Pictures Classics bought the rights to Capernaum prior to its Cannes screening, and will distribute the film in North America and Latin America with a planned release date at the end of this year. Wild Bunch has retained international rights for the picture.

Special Palme d’Or: The Image Book

The inaugural Special Palme was awarded to Jean-Luc Godard for The Image Book, his experimental cinematic essay that pieces together film footage and news clips in order to ruminate on the modern state of affairs in Arab countries. It’s also the film that reportedly features Michael Bay’s bore of a Benghazi movie 13 Hours, although Godard himself hilariously can’t recall using the footage. Regardless, according to Blanchett, Godard’s efforts in “continually striving to define and redefine what cinema can be” precipitated the Special Palme. This may be reason alone to be intrigued by Godard’s latest.

How to see it: Theatrically next year. Kino Lorber, which distributed Godard’s 2015 film Goodbye to Language,  has picked up The Image Book for a US release sometime in 2019.

Camera d’Or and Queer Palm: Girl

Lukas Dhont’s feature about a transgender teen with dreams of being a professional ballerina won the out-of-competition awards for best first feature and best LGBTQ film. Victor Polster, who plays the lead, also won the Un Certain Regard award for Best Performance, while the film also won the FIPRESCI prize for the Un Certain Regard program.

How to see it: Netflix. The streaming service’s second acquisition of the festival for US and Latin America distribution will likely be available later this year.

Short Film Palme d’Or: All These Creatures

This short has a mysterious synopsis: “An adolescent boy attempts to untangle his memories of a mysterious infestation, the unravelling of his father, and the little creatures inside us all.”

How to watch it: TBD

Short Film Special Mention: On the Border

A short film about about a Korean teen trying to leave his village.

How to watch it: Vimeo On Demand, soon via Salaud Morisset

Un Certain Regard Award: Border

The latest from Ali Abbasi (Shelley) is a thriller about a customs officer who gets too close to someone he’s investigating.

How to watch it: Theatrical, soon via Neon

Un Certain Regard – Best Director: Sergey Loznitza, for Donbass

The latest from Sergey Loznitza (In the Fog, Maidan) is a drama about the effects of propaganda in Eastern Ukraine.

How to watch it: TBD in the US; opens in France on September 5th.

Un Certain Regard – Best Screenplay: Meryem Benm’Barek, for Sofia

Meryem Benm’Barek’s debut feature is about a young Moroccan woman who has a child out of wedlock, which is a crime in her country.

How to watch it: TBD in the US; opens in France on September 19th.

Un Certain Regard – Special Jury Prize: The Dead and the Others

Renée Nader Messora and João Salaviza’s docudrama is about a boy from the indigenous Kraho tribe in Brazil and the funeral of his father.  

How to watch it: TBD

Director’s Fortnight – Art Cinema Award: Climax

The latest provocative effort from Gaspar Noé (Enter the Void) stars Sofia Boutella and is about a dance troupe descending into madness in a forest. Some are calling it “a sadistic Step Up.”

How to watch it: Theatrical, soon via A24 in the US; opens in France on September 19th.

Director’s Fortnight – Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers Prize: The Trouble With You

Pierre Salvadori’s The Trouble With You is about a woman who discovers another man is in prison as a scapegoat for her husband’s crime.

How to watch it: TBD in the US; opens in France on October 31st.

Director’s Fortnight – Europa Cinema Label: Lucia’s Grace

Gianni Zanasi’s Lucia’s Grace is a comedy about a single working mother balancing the drama of her work and her home life with her teen daughter.

How to watch it: TBD

Director’s Fortnight – Illy Short Film Award: Skip Day

A 16-minute documentary about a group of Florida seniors hanging out on “senior skip day.”

How to watch it: Online, soon via The Guardian

Critics’ Week – Grand Prize: Diamantino

A genre-bending political satire about a soccer player’s fall from grace after an injury.

How to watch it: TBD in the US; opens Portuguese theaters in September.

Critics’ Week – Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers Prize: Woman at War

An Icelandic thriller about an activist taking on a local industry.

How to watch it: TBD in the US; opens in French theaters on July 4th.

Critics’ Week – GAN Foundation Award for Distribution: Sir

An Indian film about a wealthy architect in a romance with one of his servants.

How to watch it: TBD in the US; opens in French theaters on August 8th.

Critics’ Week – Louis Roederer Foundation Rising Star Award: Felix Maritaud, for Sauvage

Maritaud stars in this French film about a male prostitute.

How to watch it: TBD for US; opens in French theaters on August 22nd

Critics’ Week – Short Film: Hector Malot – The Last Day of the Year

A short film set on New Year’s Eve about a woman with a secret dream.

How to watch it: TBD

FIPRESCI Prize – Competition: Burning

The latest from Chang-dong Lee (Poetry) is a working-class drama adapted from Haruki Murakami’s short story “Barn Burning.”

How to watch it: TBD in the US; now playing in theaters in South Korea.

FIPRESCI Prize – Director’s Fortnight/Critics’ Week: One Day

Zsófia Szilágyi’s feature debut is about one day in the life of a mother of three whose marriage is falling apart. 

How to watch it: TBD

Cinefondation First Prize: The Summer of the Electric Lion

A Chilean student film based on a true story involving a prophet with a cult following.

How to watch it: TBD

Cinefondation Second Prize: (tie) Kalendar and The Storms in Our Blood

Kalendar is a Russian student film about a woman on a mysterious journey, while The Storms in Our Blood is a comedic Chinese student film about a woman who travels to find the father of her child.

How to watch them: TBD

Cinefondation Third Prize: Inanimate

An animated British student film about a woman’s life literally falling apart.

How to watch it: TBD

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Sheryl Oh often finds herself fascinated (and let's be real, a little obsessed) with actors and their onscreen accomplishments, developing Film School Rejects' Filmographies column as a passion project. She's not very good at Twitter but find her at @sherhorowitz anyway. (She/Her)