Tuesday, October 3, 2023


July 12, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

At the halfway point of the Cannes Film Festival, a clear leader in the competition for the Palme d’Or award has emerged — at least among international film critics. (The critics and the jury that makes the actual award selection are often not in sync.) In a poll of the ten top critics conducted by the British trade publication Screen Daily, Japanese director Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s Drive My Car leads with an average of 3.5 stars out of a possible 4. Its closest competitor is the festival opener Annette with 3.0 stars. Among the critics included in the poll, Clarisse Fabre of the French weekly Le Monde wrote that Hamaguchi “undoubtedly accomplishes in the most successful and overwhelming way his aesthetic quest from his debut … to get as close as possible to the truth.” Critics not polled by Screen also heaped acclaim on the film. Guy Lodge in Variety commented: “Hamaguchi‚Äôs filmmaking, always accomplished, reaches new heights of refinement and sensory richness here.” Stephen Dalton in the Hollywood Reporter agreed, calling it “an absorbing, technically assured piece of work with poetic depths and novelistic ambitions.”

In any event, it probably comes as a relief to the festival’s organizers that a few — albeit a very few — of the films that they selected for the competition are finally receiving a positive reception. Of the twelve competing films screened thus far and featured on the Screen Daily grid, the average rating is a 2.2.