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Cannes Report, Day 3: Women Rule, ‘Cold War’ Hailed as ‘Best Film’ Yet

Ryan Coogler’s panel nabbed headlines while acquisitions are heating up

Distributors are buying films faster at this year’s Cannes Film Festival than they did at the last Sundance or Toronto fests.

On Thursday, Saban Films bought Gerard Butler’s “Keepers,” Sony Pictures Classics picked up the rights to Lebanese director Nadine Labaki’s “Capernaum,” and Jessica Chastain’s all-female thriller “355” landed a French distributor.

Two clear highlights from the film festival’s third day: “Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler talking about how he loved working with women on his films, and Paweł Pawlikowski’s film “Cold War,” which received mostly glowing reviews. Many early viewers even called it the best film to come out of Cannes yet this year (so far).

Films screening on Friday include “Ash Is Purest White” and Jean-Luc Godard’s “The Image Book,” the latter of which should get some buzz.

See below for highlights from Cannes, day three:

keepers gerard butler cannes

Saban Films Plays the Game

Saban Films picked up the North American rights to Gerard Butler’s “Keepers,” the distributor announced Thursday.

Kristoffer Nyholm directed the film which also stars Peter Mullan and Connor Swindells. The thriller is inspired by the Flannan Isle mystery where three lighthouse keepers arrive on an uninhabited island for a six-week shift but then discover something life-changing that isn’t theirs to keep. Soon, they have to battle paranoia and isolation to survive.

Saban Films has been at the forefront of the acquisitions game at festivals lately — at Sundance earlier this year, Saban picked up the rights to buzzy film “Lizzie,” which stars Chloe Sevigny and Kristen Stewart.


Sony Classics

Sony Classics Flips for “Capernaum”

On Thursday, Sony Pictures Classics acquired the North American and Latin American rights to Lebanese director Nadine Labaki’s “Capernaum,” which is set to premiere at Cannes next Thursday in competition.

The Lebanese director previously had two films, titled “Caramel” and “Where Do We Go Now?” premiere at the festival. “Where Do We Go Now?” won the Audience Award at the 2011 Toronto Film Festival and was also distributed by Sony Classics.

Labaki also wrote and also appears in “Capernaum,” which tells the story of a child who rebels against the life that’s been imposed on him and decides to bring a lawsuit against his parents.

Black Panther director

Getty Images

Ryan Coogler’s Panel

“Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler took part in a panel on Thursday, one of the hottest tickets on the Croisette. Vulture senior editor Kyle Buchanan posted a thread on Twitter about the conversation — and the filmmaker’s comments about working with strong women were the talk of the town.

When interviewer Elvis Mitchell praised him for working with female cinematographers and female editors for all three of his films, which also include “Fruitvale Station” and “Creed,” Coogler said, “It’s not something to brag about. Honestly, for my first film, I was looking for the best cinematographer I could find. Rachel Morrison was that. She was the best d.p. we could get at the time, and I thought I was getting somebody amazing, but she turned out to be incredible.”

He also said that the women are “more important” than the men in Wakanda, and he would be into making a film just about the characters played by Lupita Nyong’o, Letitia Wright, Angela Bassett and Gurira.

“A lot of times, in comic books, it’s a little bit of tokenism: You’ve got one black person, you’ve got one woman that fights,” added Coogler. “I was fired up about that, and I didn’t want to blow the opportunity.”

355 Jessica Chastain

Jessica Chastain’s All-Star ‘355’ Gets French Deal

In general, the topic of female empowerment seems to be the rage at this year’s festival. Cate Blanchett and the rest of the jury faced questions questions about #TimesUp and the number of films directed by women during a press conference on the first day. And on Thursday, Jessica Chastain’s all-star film “355” got French distribution from SND.

The film is a female-led spy thriller that also stars Lupita Nyong’o, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz and Fan Bingbing. Simon Kinberg (“X-Men; Dark Phoenix”) will direct.

“355” centers on the five top agents from organizations around the world uniting to stop a global syndicate from acquiring a weapon that could plunge an already unstable world into total chaos. They have to overcome cultural and political differences to form a bond and work together.

However, TheWrap’s Steve Pond reported that the Cannes Film Festival has had a dismal record of showcasing the work of female directors for decades.  Over the first 71 years of Cannes, a paltry 4.3 percent of the competition films have been directed by women.

Sorry Angel

‘Sorry Angel’ Debuts to (Mostly) Glowing Reviews

Christophe Honoré has impressed most with his new film, “Sorry Angel,” which debuted at Cannes on Thursday. The film follows a male student from Britanny who has a love affair with a 39-year0old man. Vincent Lacoste, Pierre Deladonchamps and Denis Podalydes star.

Vanity Fair’s Richard Lawson wrote that ‘Sorry Angel” is a “rich and thoughtful romantic drama that is less about politics than it is about matters of the heart and body. A chewy, handsomely staged novel of a movie, ‘Sorry Angel’ contains moments of piercing intelligence and heartbreaking beauty.”

IndieWire’s Eric Kohn wrote: “The most emotional and understated work from French director Christophe Honoré is a touching tribute to the art and culture of early ’90s France, charting creative obsessions young and old, and strikes a note that’s life-affirming and melancholic.”

However, Peter Bradshaw from The Guardian said “it is often poignant and humorous but also placid and complacent, with performances bordering on the self-regarding and even faintly insufferable.”

Cold War

‘Cold War’ Also Debuts

Four years after his film “Ida” won the foreign-language Oscar, Paweł Pawlikowski’s film “Cold War” also debuted on Thursday, and The Telegraph’s Tim Robey declared: “By a distance, the best film in Cannes competition so far…” Another Twitter user agreed, writing, “Pawlikowski’s ‘Cold War’ the best feature of Cannes so far. Beautifully shot and performed and with the right amount of fatalism.”

Vulture’s Kyle Buchanan revealed that there was “lots of well-deserved praise for Cannes entry ‘Cold War,'” and TheWrap’s Steve Pond called it “ravishing” and “haunting” in his review.

See some more reactions to the movie below.