This Wednesday, Baz Luhrmann’s cinematic re-visioning of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby will Charleston its way into Cannes, kicking off the most anticipated film festival of the year. And with premieres by everyone from Nicolas Winding Refn and James Franco to Claire Denis and the Coen brothers, there’s more than enough to ignite plenty of excitement. But for those of us that will, sadly, not be in attendance, we can still celebrate with our own at home festival, looking back on some of the most beloved Cannes winners from the past.
And this week on Hulu, the Criterion Collection has made some of their greatest works of film available for your viewing pleasure. From Wim Wenders’ absolutely perfect existential romantic yearning masterpiece Paris, Texas to MIchaelangelo Antonioni’s iconic and breathtakingly beautiful L’Avventura and many a goody in between, see what took home top prizes at festivals of yore. So in case you just cannot decide where to start, here are some brief previews of the cinematic magic in store. Enjoy.
Wim Wenders’ Paris, Texas (Palme d’Or, 1984)
"Wenders and Shepard produce a powerful statement on codes of masculinity and the myth of the American family, as well as an exquisite visual exploration of a vast, crumbling world of canyons and neon."
Luis Bunuel’s Viridiana (Palme d’Or, 1961)
"Banned in Spain and denounced by the Vatican, Luis Buñuel’s irreverent vision of life as a beggar’s banquet is regarded by many as his masterpiece."
Lars von Trier’s Europa (Jury Prize, 1991)
"With its gorgeous black-and-white and color imagery and meticulously recreated (if then nightmarishly deconstructed) costumes and sets, Europa is one of the great Danish filmmaker’s weirdest and most wonderful works, a runaway-train ride to an oddly futuristic past."
Masaki Kobayashi’s Harakiri (Jury Prize, 1963)
"A fierce evocation of individual agency in the face of a corrupt and hypocritical system."
Abbas Kiarostami’s Taste of Cherry (Palme d’Or, 1997)
"An emotionally complex meditation on life and death. Middle-aged Mr. Badii drives through the hilly outskirts of Tehran—searching for someone to rescue or bury him."
Hiroshi Teshigahara’s Woman in the Dunes (Jury Prize, 1964)
"One of cinema’s most bristling, unnerving, and palpably erotic battles of the sexes, as well as a nightmarish depiction of everyday Sisyphean struggle, for which Teshigahara received an Academy Award nomination for best director.
Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’avventura (Jury Prize, 1960)
"Antonioni’s penetrating study of the idle upper class offers stinging observations on spiritual isolation and the many meanings of love."
Kon Ichikawa’s Odd Obsession (Jury Prize, 1960)
"Less known today and currently unavailable on DVD or Blu-ray, is Kon Ichikawa’s Odd Obsession. The latter is an absorbing tale of adultery, jealousy, and a quest for eternal youth, starring Tatsuya Nakadai, Ganjiro Nakamura, and Machiko Kyo."