Cannes Film Festival Discoveries You Can Stream Now, Film Companion
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Cannes is, in some sense, the pinnacle of cinema, wedding glamour with talent; most of us look forward to the films as much as the fashion. After cancelling last year’s festival due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cannes is back this year, though the film critics from India who usually travel, giving us ground reports from the red carpet, are unable to do so this year.

Also Read: Every Film Playing At The 2021 Cannes Film Festival

This doesn’t mean we can’t bask in the glow of its cinema. Film director Satyanshu Singh is curating a “CANNES (in Andheri) FILM  FESTIVAL 2021” on his Twitter.

Here are some other films that have premiered and won accolades at Cannes that you can stream from home, while we wait for the awaited premieres of this year’s films to release on a streaming platform. 

Dheepan, Winner of Palme d’Or at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival

Streaming Platform: Netflix

The story of three Tamil refugees — one man, one woman, one girl —  who flee the civil war-ravaged Sri Lanka and come to France, pretending to be a family unit so they receive asylum to reconstruct their lives, Jacques Audiard’s Dheepan is a moving study of the spillage of war. There is the violence of the war that they are trying to escape but there is also the violence — small and big — in the host country that they have to surmount. The longing dreams of home and the spotty lifestyle in a foreign country whose language, mores, and even humour one is unable to make sense of, the film plays out strikingly close to life. And this isn’t just because Antonythasan Jesuthasan, who plays the male lead, was actually an LTTE soldier during the Sri Lankan civil war, who fled during the ceasefire and sought political asylum in France.

Cannes Film Festival Discoveries You Can Stream Now, Film Companion

Vanaprastham, Selected at the Un Certain Regard at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival

Streaming Platform: Disney+Hotstar

An Indo-French psychological drama, Vanaprastham is a period film set in the 1950s Travancore. Directed by Shaji N. Karun, the movie stars Mohanlal and Suhasini Maniratnam with music composed by Zakir Hussain.

Mohanlal plays a lower-caste Kathakali artist, with Suhasini Maniratnam playing a member of an aristocratic family who sees him perform the role of Arjuna. What unfolds is an inter-caste love story, the first Indian film to be made in Panavision format.

I Lost My Body, Premiered in the International Critics’ Week section at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival

Streaming Platform: Netflix

A severed hand is in search of its body.  Jérémy Clapin takes this one line story and weaves an animation film so full of feeling, aided by Dan Levy’s haunting score. The film is a work of visual poetry, using tense sequences where the “life” of the hand is at stake. The hand belongs to Naoufel, a young boy from Morocco whose life and budding love is being narrated on the side. 

Shoplifters, Winner of Palme d’Or at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival

Streaming Platform: Netflix

Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Shoplifters is a profound, deeply moving meditation on this question, “What constitutes a family?” There is great affection but also quiet brutality. Despite living in a crowded space, they take in a child who is out cold. They steal, lie, gamble, and swindle. But there is no judgment here. The film was Japan’s official entry to the Oscars. 

 

Udaan, Premiered in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival

Streaming Platform: Netflix

Director Vikramaditya Motwane’s debut film Udaan starring Rajat Barmecha, Ronit Roy, Ram Kapoor and Aayan Boradia is about a troubled father-son relationship. After being expelled from boarding school, Rohan (Rajat Barmecha) is forced to return home to Jamshedpur to live with his abusive-disciplinarian father played by Ronit Roy. As an aspiring writer, Rohan is stifled in his home where his father beats both him and his younger step-brother, Arjun, and is forced to work in his steel factory. The film is about Rohan’s journey in finding the strength to break free of his oppressive father. 

Udaan became the first Indian film to be selected at Cannes since 2003 where it was screened in the ‘Un Certain Regard’ and Golden Camera category in 2010. The film was nominated for the Best Children’s Feature Film in the Annual Asia Pacific Screen Awards. It also won the award for best narrative feature in the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles in 2011 along with seven Filmfare Awards back home.

Download The Script Of Udaan

The Lunchbox, Winner of the Grand Rail d’Or (Viewers’ Choice Award) at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival

Streaming Platform: Netflix

Writer-director Ritesh Batra’s story revolves around Saajan (the late Irrfan Khan), a reclusive middle-aged office-goer, and Ila (Nimrat Kaur), a disenchanted housewife. One day, a meal-box prepared by Ila for her husband accidentally ends up with Saajan and the pair begin to exchange notes. Their communication, obligatory at first, blossoms into a tentative romance.

Download The Script Of The Lunchbox

Saajan and Ila’s love story is rooted in Mumbai’s frustrating chaos in over-crowded trains and traffic jams and isolation in the empty apartments and complicated marriages.

Cannes Film Festival Discoveries You Can Stream Now, Film Companion

Parasite, Winner of the Palme d’Or at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival

Streaming Platform: Amazon Prime Video

Bong Joon-ho’s masterclass in cinema and commentary, the film is a black-comedy, and a gritty thriller, backed up by thinly veiled social commentary. The story of how the Kim family (Song Kang-ho, Jang Hye-jin, Choi Woo-shik, Park So-dam) living literally beneath ground level, infiltrate the house of the rich and gullible Parks (Lee Sun-kyun, Cho Yeo-jeong) is at once funny, but also deeply disconcerting, giving the class-war rhetoric a layer of doubt — here it is the rich who are innocent, and the poor are ruthless. And yet, your loyalties remain exactly where they should.

The film swept four awards at the 92nd Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best International Feature Film, becoming the first non-English language film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. 

 

Gangs of Wasseypur, Screened at the 2012 Cannes Directors’ Fortnight,

Streaming Platform: Netflix

Anurag Kashyap’s epic gangster saga starring Manoj Bajpayee, Richa Chaddha, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Pankaj Tripathi and Huma Qureshi was made on a restrained budget of Rs 18 crores. 

Inspired by true events, the film revolves around the evolution of the powerful and dangerous coal mafia in Dhanbad and Wasseypur over three decades. Manoj Bajpayee plays Sardar Khan, the vindictive orphan. Filmmaker Tigmanshu Dhulia is Ramadhir Singh, the mob boss-turned-politician and Pankaj Tripathi plays Sultan Qureshi. In an interview with The Guardian, Kashyap said, “Everything you see in the film is true, though it did not happen necessarily in the same order to the same people.” 

Shot as a single film with a run time of 5 hours and 20 minutes, Kashyap decided to release the film in two parts since no theatres would agree to release a film that long.

Download The Script of Gangs Of Wasseypur Part I

West Beirut, Prix François Chalais at the 1998 Cannes Directors’ Fortnight

Streaming Platform: Netflix

The violence of war is felt more palpably when the stories are more microscopic in their focus. Like what Quo Vadis, Aida?did for the Bosnian Genocide, and Dheepan did for the Sri Lankan genocide, West Beirut does for the civil war in 1975 Lebenon. The film follows a high school student named Tarek (Rami Doueiri) who is thrilled by the upheaval because he no longer needs to go to school. But soon as the reality of war dawns on him, the story settles into a darker, more moving rhythm. The film was selected as the Lebanese entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 71st Academy Awards

Cannes Film Festival Discoveries You Can Stream Now, Film Companion

Florida Project, Premiered at the 2017 Cannes Directors’ Fortnight 

Streaming Platform: Amazon Prime Video

Directed by Sean Baker, this two hour film follows six-year old Moonee (Brooklynn Prince), who lives with her mother in a motel in Florida, in the shadows of Disney World. What follows is life through her eyes — the small michiefs, and the larger acts of arson with her band of friends from her mauve motel, and the one nearby. Willem Dafoe plays the motel manager, the paternal figure who is at once stern but also yielding. The most significant achievement of this film is that it makes this sandpaper cheque-to-mouth life feel safe, even as it posits the larger issues of childcare, making you wonder what these at-risk kids would grow up to be. You don’t judge them, and you are not made to feel this tense and nauseous anxiety about them. You only wish for them the best.

 

The Florida Project was chosen by both the National Board of Review and American Film Institute as one of the top 10 films of the year. Prince won the Critics’ Choice Movie Award for Best Young Performer.

 

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