Cannes critics picks 2021

Source: The Match Factory / Protagonist Pictures / Memento International / A24 / Cannes Film Festival

[L-R] ‘Memoria’,’The Souvenir: Part II’, ‘A Hero’, ‘After Yang’, ‘Onoda - 10 000 Nights In The Jungle’

Screen International critics select the buzziest titles from the 2021 Cannes Film Festival’s Competition, Un Certain Regard, Directors’ Fortnight and Critics’ Week sections. Compiled by Screen’s chief critic and reviews editor Fionnuala Halligan.


Ahed’s Knee
Nadav Lapid
Our critic said: “A bitter, ironic, incendiary new film about an Israeli filmmaker forced into a cultural compromise.”
International sales: Kinology
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A Hero
Dir: Asghar Farhadi
Our critic said: “A truly compelling drama anchored by the remarkable central performance of Amir Jadidi as a man who is almost undone by one selfless gesture that goes viral.”
International sales: Memento International
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Dir: Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Our critic said: ” The boldness of Weerasethakul’s vision — the way he turns simple tales into resonant parables — remains astonishing, even nourishing.”
International sales: The Match Factory
Read the review here 

Red Rocket
Dir: Sean Baker
Our critic said: “Expect star Simon Rex, an actor and former MTV VJ, to receive plenty of acclaim for a star-making role that could spark a career renaissance.”
International sales: FilmNation
Read the review here 

Drive My Car
Dir: Ryusuke Hamaguchi
Our critic said: “Not for all tastes, but attractive leads and mysterious interlocking narrative layers accompanied by a very pleasant score help make it seem shorter than its three-hour running time.”
International sales: The Match Factory
Read the review here 

Dir: Julia Ducournau
Our critic said: “For her follow-up to Raw, Julia Ducournau delivers a deranged cocktail of outrage, excess, conceptual ferocity and sheer silliness.”
International sales: Wild Bunch
Read the review here 

The Worst Person in the World
Dir: Joachim Trier
Our critic said: “Never exactly a risk-averse director, Trier throws caution to the wind with this film, the third picture in his Oslo trilogy (following Reprise and Oslo, August 31st), starring a magnetic Renate Reinsve.”
International sales: mk2 Films
Read the review here 

Out Of Competition

The Velvet Underground
Dir: Todd Haynes
Our critic said: “Haynes channels the essence of rock group The Velvet Underground in this immersive documentary.”
International distribution: Apple TV+
Read the review here 

Un Certain Regard

After Yang

Source: A24

‘After Yang’

After Yang
Dir: Kogonada
Our critic said: “A beautifully executed, intellectually searching and sometimes droll futuristic drama… Colin Farrell continues to age wonderfully into the role of a bemused middle-aged everyman - Ireland’s own Marcello Mastroianni.”
International sales: A24 Films
Read the review here 

Good Mother
Dir: Hafsia Hersi
Our critic said: “An instantly involving portrait of a fifty-something woman in contemporary Marseilles diligently holding together several generations, this establishes actor turned writer/director Hafsia Herzi as a significant French filmmaker.”
International sales: SBS International
Read the review here  

The Innocents
Dir: Eskil Vogt
Our critic said: “A clever, engaging and often electrifying feature which straddles suspense and the arthouse in a tight and satisfying way.”
International sales: Protagonist Pictures
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Onoda - 10,000 Nights in the Jungle
Dir: Arthur Harari
Our critic said: “This gripping tale of misguided patriotism recreates a vanished set of circumstances via excellent performances and well-tailored cinematic choices.”
International sales: Le Pacte
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Dir: Laura Wandel
Our critic said: “A portrait of schoolyard bullying that is a sit-up-and-take-notice blend of outstandingly natural performances enhanced by spot-on cinematic choices.”
International sales: Indie Sales
Read the review here 

Women Do Cry
Dirs: Mina Mileva, Vesela Kazakova
Our critic said: “A blistering indictment of Bulgaria’s attitude towards women… The film’s raw, pulsating anger and some bravura performances make for an explosive drama.”
International sales: mk2 Films
Read the review here 

Directors’ Fortnight

A Chiara

Source: Stayblack Productions / Haut et Court / Arte France Cinéma / Rai Cinema

‘A Chiara’

A Chiara
Dir: Jonas Carpignano
Our critic said: “Carpignano is more artistically ambitious this time around, creating a horror-tinged vision of a ravaged land forced to live beyond the law and beyond the pale in ways that are both literally and metaphorically subterranean.”
International sales: mk2 Films
Read the review here 

Hit The Road
Dir: Panah Panahi
Our critic said: “Crackling with energy and outbreaks of exuberant lip syncing, riotously funny at times and quietly devastating at others, the phenomenal feature debut from Panah Panahi looks set to be one of the major discoveries of this year’s Cannes.”
International sales: Celluloid Dreams
Read the review here 

Dir: Antoneta Alamat Kusijanovic
Our critic said: “Sexual tension and the threat of violence permeate director Kusijanovic’s engrossing feature debut, which chronicles a battle of wills between a bullying father and the defiant teenage daughter.”
International sales: The Match Factory
Read the review here 

The Souvenir: Part II
Dir: Joanna Hogg
Our critic said: “Semi-autobiographical, bold, brave, and occasionally funny, it’s a film for cineastes and a layered completion of Hogg’s diptych.”
International sales: Protagonist Pictures
Read the review here 

Critics’ Week

Small Body

Source: Alpha Violet

‘Small Body’

Small Body
Dir: Laura Samani
Our critic said: “A rough-hewn fairytale unfolding against a fully realised world, this is an arresting feature debut for director Samani.”
International sales: Alpha Violet
Read the review here 

Cinema For The Climate

Invisible Demons
Dir: Rahul Jain
Our critic said: “The terrible, incalculable environmental cost of India’s burgeoning economy is the subject of Jain’s powerful follow-up to his debut documentary, Machines.”
International sales: Participant Media, Rob Williams / mk2 Films
Read the review here