Here's our complete rundown of the best, worst and most controversial at Cannes 2015

Here's what the Telegraph critics made of the features that screened at Cannes 2015, from Emmanuelle Bercot's opening film to Jacques Audiard's Palme d'Or-winning Dheepan to Michael Fassbender's Macbeth – and everything weird, wonderful and unexpected in between. 


Rating:  * * * * *

Director: Justin Kurzel
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, David Thewlis

We said: "This pared-down adaptation by Jacob Koskoff, Michael Leslie and Todd Louiso feels jagged and spare – the bleached, modernist carcass of the original verse – while the sheer innovation of the staging lends a flesh-creeping freshness to every familiar toss and turn of Shakespeare’s plot." Read the full review of Macbeth.

They said: "As Macbeth, Michael Fassbender, committed to the project before the director, is almost great but not quite. He's commanding all right – but  you are never quite moved enough by him, never feel his inwardness, as you must for the play to have its full tragic force." (David Sexton, Evening Standard, * * * *)

Dheepan - winner of the Palme d'Or

Rating:  * * * * 

Director: Jacques Audiard
Starring: Antonythasan Jesuthasan, Kalieaswari Srinivasan, Claudine Vinasithamby, Vincent Rottiers

We said: "As an empathetic snapshot of the current immigrant experience in France, the film is compelling right through, but it’s the central relationship that really digs its way into your soul. The leads, Jesuthasan and Srinivasan, both of whom give beautifully detailed, worry-filled performances, get their characters edging towards an intimacy with each other that only makes the occasional flare-ups more bitter and personal in their animus." Read the full review of Dheepan.

They said: "Jacques Audiard has made his name, in films such as A Prophet, Rust & Bone and The Beat That My Heart Skipped, for a kind of ecstatic violence of the soul. Dheepan, his new film about a former Tamil Tiger fighter looking for a new life in France, certainly has some of the director’s trademark ferocity, especially in its final minutes, but it displays what I can only describe as dialled-down Audiard." (Andrew Pulver, The Guardian, * * * *)

Mountains May Depart

Rating:  * * * * 

Director: Jia Zhang-Ke
Starring: Zhao Tao, Zhang Yi, Liang Jin Dong, Dong Zijian, Sylvia Chang

We said: "When Jia Zhang-ke begins his latest state-of-China epic with a cannon-blast of Pet Shop Boys, you sit up and take notice. “Together! Your hand in my hand / Together! We will make our plans” isn’t just an unexpected, way for Jia to launch into his kaleidoscopic and close-to-wonderful new film." Read the full review of Mountains May Depart.

They said: "Zhangke's always had a throughline regarding economic inequality and the 21st century-style Chinese capitalism in his work, but Mountains May Depart might be the director's defining statement on the way that his nation has changed over the past few decades." (Oliver Lyttelton, Indiewire)

The Assassin

Rating: * * * * *

Director: Hsiao-Hsien Hou
Starring: Qi Shu, Chen Chang, Satoshi Tsumabuki

We said: "The first film in seven years from the Taiwanese master Hou Hsiao-Hsien – a period-drama martial arts movie – is an immaculate treasure box of light, texture and movement. It is one of the most purely beautiful films I have ever seen." Read the full review of The Assassin.

They said: "Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s The Assassin is a gorgeous creation, a martial arts movie that willfully withholds and subverts the primary pleasures of the genre to get at something more beautiful, mysterious and timeless. One doesn’t watch The Assassin so much as fall under its sway." (Tim Grierson, Paste)

Yakuza Apocalypse

Rating: * * * * *

Director: Takashi Miike
Starring: Yayan Ruhian, Rirî Furankî, Hayato Ichihara

We said: "Yakuza Apocalypse stays foolish. Or, to be precise, it starts foolish, before dog-legging into absurd, and then the giant frog turns up, and every last narrative-aesthetic rule goes up in smoke. Miike stirs everything into the mix: slapstick, body horror, stop-motion animation, and vintage giant monster carnage." Read the full review of Yakuza Apocalypse.

They said: "Taking place in that part of the imagination ruled by storytelling capacity before narrative logic, realism and cause/effect psychology comes along, the film is an insane headrush of the most disposable, nonsensical, whacked-out genre bliss possible." (Jessica Kiang, Indiewire)


Rating: * *

Director: Gaspar Noé
Starring: Aomi Muyock, Karl Glusman, Klara Kristin

We said: "The problem with Love isn’t its purpose, which I find wholly laudable, nor the sex itself, which is beautiful and also – to use a taboo critical term – sexy. It’s that both these things deserved a far richer and more intelligent film to support them." Read the full review of Love.

They said: "The biggest surprise of Love is its modest ambition: Noé's intermittently absorbing, somewhat half-baked, underwritten chronicle of a doomed romance does offer a few tidbits of hardcore goods as promised, but otherwise feels lightweight." (Eric Kohn, Indiewire)


Rating: * * *

Director: Paolo Sorrentino
Starring: Michael Caine, Karvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, Jane Fonda, Paul Dano

We said: "There are lightning-flashes of pure, ornamental brilliance throughout Paolo Sorrentino’s follow-up to his Oscar-winning 2013 masterpiece The Great Beauty, although there’s not much happening on the landscape they illuminate." Read the full review of Youth.

They said: "There are brilliant flourishes here that could only have come from Sorrentino: superb swooping camera moves, grotesque faces and angular perspectives, and it always watchable. But it’s beset with Sorrentino’s occasional fanboy weakness for pop-star cameos – Paloma Faith appears here, playing herself and not earning her keep." (Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian, * * *)

Cemetery of Splendour

Rating: * * * *

Director: Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Starring: Jenjira Pongpas, Banlop Lomnoi, Jarinpattra Rueangram

We said: "Apichatpong’s work isn’t so much an acquired taste as a required one. It’s different from almost anything else out there, with long, static shots underscored by nothing more than the soothing chirp of cicadas and rustle of leaves, and characters who drift in a blissed-out limbo between the spirit world and ours." Read the full review of Cemetery of Splendour.

They said: "Weerasethakul combines a gentle deadpan humour with his usual quietist worldview. If the sleeping sickness is a form of group hysteria, then it is a very calm sort of hysteria. But more than this, it is another example of this director’s insistence on a spiritual realm which overlaps with our own." (Peter Bradshaw, Guardian, * * * *)


Rating: * * *

Director: Denis Villeneuve
Starring: Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin, Jon Bernthal, Benicio Del Toro, Victor Garber, Jeffrey Donovan

We said: "There’s not much fault to find with Sicario on the level of craft or performances, just its rather sputtering momentum, and the lack of a higher purpose. It’s admirable that the film’s taking its subject, Mexico's bloody drug cartels, seriously; it’s just not enough." Read the full review of Sicario.

They said: "The stage initially seems to be set for a Silence of the Lambs-style feminist thriller involving a intrepid woman at odds with her gruff, male-dominated workforce. But Blunt's character ultimately remains the passive spectator in a web of conspiracies and mounting investigative strategies that — once revealed — amount to little more than a simplistic indictment of the ubiquitous corruption at hand." (Eric Kohn, Indiewire)

Son of Saul

Rating: * * * *

Director: László Nemes
Starring: Géza Röhrig, Levente Molnár, Urs Rechn, Sándor Zsótér

We said: "Nemes's film is set entirely, and with pitiless, unyielding intensity, inside Auschwitz-Birkenau. It’s almost too ruthless an achievement for its own good. It pushes its vision to the bitter end, eschewing emotion, reflection, or intellectual framing as if banned at gunpoint from any such lapses. But these are the very dehumanising conditions Saul is dealing with, and the film’s brave choice is to follow them to the letter." Read the full review of Son of Saul.

They said: "The death and torment of everyone else is dashed past in the name of one pie-eyed salvation mission. But you can’t deny, nor can you resist, the screaming power of Nemes’s mise-en-scène. The cinema of genocide will never be quite the same again." (Nigel Andrews, Financial Times)

Marguerite and Julien

Rating: * *

Director: Valérie Donzelli
Starring: Anaïs Demoustier, Jérémie Elkaïm, Aurélia Petit

We said: "Donzelli has adapted her film from an unused François Truffaut script, yet nothing beneath Marguerite & Julien’s fussy surface suggests any kind of understanding of why his films were and remain so exhilarating and surging with life. Instead, Donzelli’s film plays out with plodding straightforwardness, one scene following on from the next with almost no time for reflection, or the building of erotic tension, or a sense of scandal, or anything else." Read the full review of Marguerite and Julien.

They said: "This is a turkey de luxe, with stuffing, bread sauce, and a paper hat. There is mad over-acting, a sinister reactionary priest and two separate face-slapping incidents. When Marguerite and Julien finally make their escape, they have weird, freaky nature-embracing sex in a forest: it looks madly uncomfortable, like the performances." (Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian, *)

Inside Out

Rating: * * * * *

Director: Pete Docter
Starring: Diane Lane, Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling (voices)

We said: "The opening sequence of Pixar's Up became notorious for making cinema-goers cry in under four minutes, but – in my case at least – Inside Out has beaten it. The first tear was rolling down my cheek within 30 seconds flat. This is a humane and heart-wrenchingly beautiful film from director Pete Docter; even measured alongside Pixar’s numerous great pictures, it stands out as one of the studio’s very best." Read the full review of Inside Out.

They said: "Inside Out hasn’t anything as genuinely emotionally devastating as Up, or the subtlety and inspired subversion of Monsters Inc. and the Toy Stories which it certainly resembles at various stages. But it is certainly a terrifically likeable, ebullient and seductive piece of entertainment, taken at full-throttle." (Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian)


Rating: * * * * *

Director: Todd Haynes
Starring: Rooney Mara, Cate Blanchett, Kyle Chandler, Sarah Paulson, Cory Michael Smith, Jake Lacy

We said: "Everything, in this long-gestating adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s 1952 novel, feels weighted to perfection. The film’s a smorgasbord of edible Fifties design which finds meaning in the smallest details. And the acting slays you: Cate Blanchett, especially, somehow leaps over her own highest standards with a subtlety that’s little short of phenomenal." Read the full review of Carol.

They said: "Often the film can be as buttoned-up as its era, relying on loaded looks and gestures to communicate deep oceans of feeling. So the film is initially a little, if not underwhelming, at least chillier than expected." (Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair)

A Perfect Day

Rating: * * *

Director: Fernando León de Aranoa
Starring: Benicio Del Toro, Tim Robbins, Olga Kurylenko, Mélanie Thierry, Fedja Stukan, Eldar Reisdovic

We said: "This pitch-black story about international aid workers in the Balkans is full of punchy comic dialogue – doubly impressive, given this is the director's first English-language picture – and has a winning habit of thwarting your expectations as to where the most morally upstanding course of action might lead." Read the full review of A Perfect Day.

They said: "Tipping its hat to anti-war screen comedies that came out of the counterculture movement like Catch-22 and M*A*S*H – with a dash of the mordant absurdism of Emir Kusturica and Goran Paskaljevic fueled by the Balkan setting – the good-looking film’s humour is low-key to a fault, and its characters don't always generate the sparks that the script intends." (David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter)

Mon Roi

Rating: * * * *

Director: Maïwenn
Starring: Emmanuelle Bercot, Vincent Cassel, Louis Garrel, Isild Le Besco, Chrystèle Saint-Louis Augustin, Patrick Raynal

We said: "Maïwenn has her films unfold in a kind of perpetual, caffeinated close-up – they’re built of laughter and food and arguments and sex, all experienced at close quarters, with her camera capturing the emotions of her cast as they flash across their faces like sunlight through the windscreen of a speeding car." Read the full review of Mon Roi.

They said: "Despite committed turns by Vincent Cassel and Emmanuelle Bercot as an unlikely couple who meet cute, have a kid and wind up squabbling over whether they should separate, Mon Roi never moves beyond the basic trappings of its formula. Worse, it repeats the same tropes over and over again for two hours, as if the filmmaker ran out of steam along with her central couple." (Eric Kohn, Indiewire)


Rating: * * * * 

Director: Asif Kapadia
Starring: Amy Winehouse, Mitch Winehouse, Janis Winehouse, Blake Fielder-Civil (archive footage)

We said: "Kapadia’s film is many things: a Sherlockian reconstruction of Winehouse’s arcing path across the skies of superstardom, a commemoration of her colossal talent, and a moving tribute to a brilliant, witty, vivacious young woman gone far too soon." Read the full review of Amy.

They said: "Amy is an emotionally stirring and technically polished tribute, its sprawling mass of diverse source material elegantly cleaned up, color-corrected and shaped into a satisfying narrative. If Kapadia’s film feels like an incomplete story, that is mainly because Winehouse’s life was itself incomplete." (Stephen Dalton, The Hollywood Reporter)

Mia Madre

Rating: * *

Director: Nanni Moretti
Starring: Margherita Buy, John Turturro, Giulia Lazzarini, Nanni Moretti

We said: "Turturro deserves four stars – but the rest of Moretti’s saggy melodrama is scarcely half as good."

They said: "One of Moretti’s most minor-key works, My Mother leaves the audience to make connections, and those who are bored by its sometimes drab surface [...] may be unwilling to make the effort. That’s their loss." (Lee Marshall, Screen International)

The Sea of Trees

Rating: * *

Director: Gus Van Sant
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Naomi Watts, Ken Watanabe, Jordan Gavaris, Katie Aselton

We said: "Van Sant wanted to study a man drowning in sorrow and guide him towards the light. But the guidance he gets is fake, forced, and unbearably tricksy, a kind of suicide rehab with gotcha devices. Like Aokigahara itself, the whole film needs cordoning off with safety rope and ""Keep Out" signs. There's nothing to see inside." Read the full review of The Sea of Trees.

They said: "Not even Matthew McConaughey can sustain the mushy, amateurish story, which digs itself a deeper hole as it moves along. The established talents of both director and star only serve to magnify the many wrong moves that this stunning misfire takes." (Eric Kohn, Indiewire)

A Tale of Love and Darkness

Rating: * * *

Director: Natalie Portman
Starring: Natalie Portman, Shira Haas, Makram Khoury                                        

We said: "Portman has adapted a memoir by the Israeli novelist Amos Oz about his childhood in 1940s Jerusalem, under the British mandate, through the civil war of 1947-8, and to the creation of the state of Israel. The film feels like a personal project for Portman, but thankfully never a vanity one. It’s a fine piece of work – and you sense there’s better to come." Read the full review of A Tale of Love and Darkness.

They said: "So often, films from Israel and Palestine concentrate on the conflict between these two cultures, rather than life as it is experienced on the ground – that is, struggling to find some normalcy amid shootings and bombs... A Tale of Love and Darkness opts for a sombre portrayal of life in Jerusalem, one whose virtually monochromatic colour palette has been pushed toward the dolorous blue end of the spectrum." (Peter Debruge, Variety)

Irrational Man

Rating: * *

Director: Woody Allen
Starring: Emma Stone, Joaquin Phoenix, Parker Posey

We said: "Irrational Man is like a so-so episode of Columbo, where we’re in on the hows and whys, and merely wait for the who to drop in someone else’s head. Stone’s Jill is more Nancy Drew than Peter Falk, though, and those cogs turn awfully slowly – Allen hasn’t written a part that lets her snappy intelligence come to the fore, only her easy charm and sudden, flaring bursts of outrage." Read the full review of Irrational Man.

They said: "There are one or two nice moments, and some clunkingly improbable and lazily written plot twists, for which the narrative path has been notionally cleared with stitchback references early in the script. They really should either have had more basic plausibility, more genuine hair-raising excitement, or been cleared for us as overtly comic and absurd." (Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian, * *)

The Lobster

Rating: * * * *

Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Starring: Colin Farrell, Léa Seydoux, Rachel Weisz, Ben Whishaw, John C Reilly, Olivia Colman

We said: "Colin Farrell's David is a widower newly arrived at a processing unit for single people, where they’re given a set number of days in which to find a new partner among the inmates, or else be transformed into a creature of their choosing. Despite its slicing weirdness, The Lobster is surprisingly moving. Every frame has been composed with cerebral coolness, and the hotel and its surrounding forests are shot with a dream-like lucidity. I haven’t seen anything quite like it before." Read the full review of The Lobster.

They said: "The Lobster is elegant and eccentric in Lanthimos’s familiar style: the world of the hotel is brilliantly created, and the film cleverly mocks the unexamined strangeness of hotels with all their corporate furniture of leisure and relaxation. This part of the film looks like the weekend break or team-building exercise from hell." (Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian, * * *)

Our Little Sister

Rating: * * * *

Director: Hirokazu Kore-eda
Starring: Suzu Hirose, Haruka Ayase, Masami Nagasawa, Kaho

We said: "This is a story about grace, kindness, and a form of rescue: that of 15-year-old Suzu (Suzu Hirose, an absolute pleasure to watch), by the three half-sisters she’s never met until their father’s funeral. The patience of the filmmaking is pretty remarkable, a feat of embroidery slowly taking shape. It’s an invitation to sit back and settle in for one of Kore-eda’s loveliest films." Read the full review of Our Little Sister.

They said: "Kore-eda's trademark humility and humanism is here, and we do get glimpses, even stretches, that suggest the piercingly bittersweet vitality of his best work. But Our Little Sister feels like "Kore-eda lite." Not that he was ever the heaviest of filmmakers: a lullaby of sweet but repeated notes; a cool hand stroking a brow long after the fever has passed." (Jessica Kiang, Indiewire)

Tale of Tales

Rating: * * * *

Director: Matteo Garrone
Starring: Salma Hayek, Toby Jones, Vincent Cassel, Bebe Cave, Christian Lees, Jonah Lees, Shirley Henderson, Hayley Carmichael, Stacy Martin, John C. Reilly

We said: "A triptych of fables drawn from a 17th-century book of Neapolitan folk stories dances on a razor’s edge between funny and unnerving, with sequences of shadow-spun horror rubbing up against moments of searing baroque beauty. It’s the kind of film you’ve spent the past 10 years wishing Terry Gilliam and Tim Burton would make." Read the full review of Tale of Tales.

They said: "These fairy tales are certainly not aimed at children, though they will light the fire of many teens. Apart from a few moments of artistic eros – the first a shot of two court ladies consumed with passion for each other in a carriage; the second a post-orgy scene laced with naked, Felliniesque bodies – there is an underlying horror that is unnerving even for adults." (Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter)

La Tête Haute / Standing Tall

Rating: * * * 

Director: Emmanuelle Bercot
Starring: Rod Paradot, Catherine Deneuve, Sara Forestier, Benoît Magimel

We said: "An unglamorous social realist drama about a juvenile deliquent makes for an unlikely Cannes opener, but its young star – discovered smoking outside a technical college in the Paris suburbs – gives a performance that's worth getting excited about." Read the full review of Standing Tall.

They said: "It is a high-minded, often touching movie which replaces the nihilism and miserabilism often to be found in social realism, and replaces them with a positive vision of what the state can – and can’t – do to help." (Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian, * * *)

Mad Max: Fury Road

Rating: * * * * * 

Director: George Miller
Starring: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult

We said: "Miller's long-delayed return to the Mad Max series is nothing less than a Krakatoan eruption of craziness. The film is almost nothing but chase, with each high-octane action sequence shunting into the next at breakneck speed." Read the full review of Mad Max: Fury Road.

They said: "Inevitably the leanness of the early films has been lost, but without question Fury Road remains the work of a visionary. Miller has put all the money, all the perverse and poetic flights of his imagination, on the screen." (Ian Nathan, Empire, * * * * *)