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Cannes Critics’ Panel: Haneke’s Amour is Tops Among Critics, Holy Motors Places Second

The clear favorite among our panelists this year was the Palme d’Or winner. Haneke’s Amour (4.1) was an across the boards critical darling of the fest until, Leo Carax’s Holy Motors (3.8) made this an official two horse race. Our panelists accurately predicted the winner, but would have actually preferred the more visually and narratively ambitious film to have garnered a prize. Third place on our list, double prize winner, or triple, when you consider that the Best Actress award was handed to both of Beyond the Hills’ co-leads, the longest pic of the festival rated extremely high among our panel and it could be argued that, the Best Screenplay winner is as strong as his Palme winner 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days.

In the top six, we’ve got a pair of French film items in Vous n’avez rien vu encore (3.4) and Rust & Bone (3.3) that place 4 and 5, while the festival gave critics a gift by ending with Jeff Nichols’ well received Mud (3.2). In a batch of films that played extremely well among some of our critics but were dismissed by some, we find In the Fog (3.1), Moonrise Kingdom (3.0) and Vinterberg’s The Hunt (2.9) which claimed the Best Actor prize.

Oddly, a pair of films that were graded with an average of 2.7 are the Grand Prix and Jury Prize winners in Reality and Loach’s The Angel’s Share. Old members from the Cannes V.I.P fold found some support, but nothing close to Palme appreciation: In Another Country (2.7) and Kiarostami’s Like Someone in Love (2.4).

Somewhat of the norm for Venice, 2012 will be Cannes edition known for its major U.S film influx – unfortunately while the red carpet saw plenty A-listers, the majority of the U.S. titles (co-productions included) appear to have been subpar. Killing them Softly and Cosmopolis (2.5) had its share of supporters, while Lawless (2.3) and On the Road (2.1) have their work cut out for their eventual theatrical plays.

In the bottom five, there were two films that were critically panned and not surprisingly, were considered as strong Palme d’Or candidates from the Nanni Moretti jury. Paradise: Love (2.0) might work better within a full-length trilogy, while Post Tenebras Lux (1.9) which had probably the fest’s most alluring prologue saw Carlos Reygadas receive the coveted Best Director award. While the later pair are welcomed films in the comp, Fremeux’s questionable main comp titles selections are bottom feeders After the Battle (1.7), The Paperboy (1.6) and B-movie quality, Taste of Money (1.0). And finally, we had Claude Miller’s last film listed in our chart, but the majority of our critics had skipped town – so we’re think of actual grades.

Cannes Critic's Panel 2012

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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