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Top 10 Best Scenes from Cannes 2009

When you cover a film festival of the size of Cannes, it is the standalone celluloid moments within a film that make the draining process of spending half the day in the dark actually worthwhile.

When you cover a film festival of the size of Cannes, it is the standalone celluloid moments within a film that make the draining process of spending half the day in the dark actually worthwhile. I’ve decided to list some of the better shots, scenes and sequences of the films that I bring back from my fresh Cannes 2009 memories. I could have easily made a list of thirty, there are many yummy scenes worth pointing out in better than average films such as Broken Embraces, Air Doll, Up and Tales From the Golden Age all the way down to films that left me unimpressed such as Tsai Ming-Ling‘s Faces (with a Nathalie Baye crawling out from underneath a table), but I decided to go with a strict minimum. Here is a list of ten which I’ll attempt to highlight without spoiling it for those who haven’t yet seen the films.

#10. J’ai tué ma mère (Xavier Dolan): The cream cheese moment. After a collage of close-up shots of inanimate objects (a shrine showing his mother’s tackiness), the film’s first interaction between characters is during a mundane event: breakfast time. Son (Xavier Dolan) is annoyed by his mother (Anne Dorval) and the cream cheese stain on her cheek. It says so much about how he views and resents her.

#9 . Nymph (Pen-Ek Ratanaruang): Opening shot, one continuous technically difficult long-take (around 10plus minutes in runtime) explores the mysterious nature of the film’s key location.

#8. Bright Star (Jane Campion). Final scene features Abbie Cornish juxtaposed to wintery backdrop with a combination of grief and honouring the person who she gave her heart to. Quite literally, this is poetry in motion.

#7. Fish Tank (Andrea Arnold): Still in the film’s first act, the story-line finally unveils the protagonist’s idea of escapism. Katie Jarvis’ character uses an empty apartment flat to find solace. How this scene is photographed, the energy of the sequence, the editing and the hip hop song choice make this a memorable break from her dismal existence.

#6. Looking For Eric (Ken Loach): 200 Eric Cantonas. The film’s climax is basically a case for safety in numbers. It’s the laugh out loud moment of the film.

#5. Enter the Void (Gaspar Noe). Psychedelic Trip. When the lead character takes a hit of the DMT drug, the film goes into a sensory-filled rainbow of colors with companion muffled sounds. Easily the film’s most alluring sequence that will often be referenced in comparison to Kubrick’s quantum leap in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

#4. A Prophet (Jacques Audiard). After a catch-22 type of situation where the lead character played by Tahar Rahim must commit the ultimate sin, he is revisited by the last person he would want to see. It acts as the character’s subconscious and reminds him that despite him selling out to the Italians, that he is fully aware of his roots.

#3. Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino). I Drink Your Milk…The opening sequence to QT’s WWII epic is where we are first introduced to the villain/antagonistic force of the film (vividly interpreted by Christoph Waltz) and the origins of the female heroine. Celebrating the Spaghetti Western, the sequence which runs at least 20 plus minutes is filled with humor, is slowly paced and contains the same “agitation” found in the Leone films.

#2. Dogtooth (Yorgos Lanthimos). There are too many to choose from, but one standout scene is when father comes home from work to be meet by his adult son who in-turn asks the father to retrieve a toy out of his reach on the driveway. The scene further advocates the notion that the outside world is a hostile, unsafe environment for one, and a place or control for the other.

#1. Antichrist (Lars von Trier). The film’s b&w prologue chapter which explains Charlotte Gainsbourg’s character’s infinite sorrow and reason for her depression is a one of sheer beauty.

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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at IONCINEMA.com, 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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