Come home to a Cannes classic

With several Palme d’Or winners now available, you can enjoy the best of festivals past from the comfort of your own sofa

By the time you read this, I’ll be immersed in the Cannes film festival, my blood half-rosé, scrambling between screenings and deadlines, and puzzling over Jean-Luc Godard’s latest visual essay on three hours’ sleep. Cannes is a frazzling blast in many ways, but often an unideal environment in which to watch movies. The selection could hardly be better, but chain-watching five auteur films a day sometimes isn’t the best way to let their virtues and subtleties sink in. To say nothing of securing a seat in the scrum: Blue Is the Warmest Colour is a great film, but I enjoyed it more the second time – when I wasn’t standing through all three hours of it.

You’re in a far comfier position to savour the best of Cannes at home, so it’s handy that the reigning Palme d’Or winner, Ruben Östlund’s wonderfully puckish, unruly art-world satire The Square (Curzon Artificial Eye, 15), is out on Blu-ray and streaming on Amazon from tomorrow, alongside its standing engagement on Curzon Home Cinema. It’s one of the most thrilling Cannes champs: dry and sly, modishly piercing in its deconstruction of contemporary outrage culture but also more broadly perceptive on male ego and insecurity, its many moving parts held together by a cunning high-wire performance from the splendidly named Claes Bang.

If you’re looking to build a playlist of Palmes past, however, the streaming world is at your service. Doing a search for my favourites, I was somewhat surprised to find the 1969 winner, Lindsay Anderson’s still incendiary public school takedown If..., lurking in the depths of Netflix. (For home viewing purposes, happily, no one need take sides in the current Cannes v Netflix brouhaha.) The streaming giant isn’t generally the place to go searching for pre-1970s British classics, much less ones as snarling and rivetingly off-kilter as Anderson’s modernist masterwork. Half a century on, it feels as politically cutting as ever.

‘Brusquely poetic’: Harry Dean Stanton in Wim Wenders’s Paris, Texas.
‘Brusquely poetic’: Harry Dean Stanton in Wim Wenders’s Paris, Texas. Photograph: Ronald Grant Archive

Head to Amazon Prime, meanwhile, to revisit the desert-rose magic of Wim Wenders’s Paris, Texas, as exquisitely broken-hearted and brusquely poetic a film ever to take the top prize, or Akira Kurosawa’s Kagemusha, as visceral and lustrous a spectacle ever to do the same. The Dardenne brothers’ Rosetta, a close-up character study of a teenage caravan-park girl, lives in the Amazon library too. While the Belgians’ brand of straight-up, unvarnished realism has become familiar (and even a bit softened) to us by now, this surprise 1999 winner retains its stark ice-water kick. Those gnarled, chewed-nail details in its portraiture might make it their best film.

Pre-1960s winners can be harder to chase: one hopes the likes of the superb, rarely shown Soviet drama The Cranes Are Flying will someday be available in a matter of clicks. For now, however, the swiftly expanding FilmStruck menu comes through with two striking ones: Marcel Camus’s swirling, carnival-feathered, favela-set riff on Greek legend Black Orpheus, and Othello, Orson Welles’s exhilaratingly idiosyncratic, dislocated Shakespeare interpretation, a film that bends both text and cinematic space in ways dictated by its equally gripping, tortured production backstory.

Finally, if you’re doing a mid-century Cannes marathon, there’s your excuse to splash out on the sharp new Blu-ray of Marty (Eureka, U), a low-key American miniature that has the unlikely distinction of being the only film in history to win both the Palme d’Or and the best picture Oscar. Aspects of this working-class Bronx romance – an ugly duckling tale of purely internal transformation – have dated, turning quaint rather than raw, but its simple, sincere heart still beats steadily. You wouldn’t see anything like it in Cannes today.

New to streaming and DVD this week

Watch the trailer for The Greatest Showman.

The Greatest Showman
(Fox, PG)
Its stunningly popular underdog run in cinemas has hardly ended, but this daftly chintzy, historically misguided and curiously irresistible PT Barnum bio-musical can finally delight its growing army of fans at home. Sing along to your heart’s content.

All the Money in the World
(Sony, 15)
Already, it feels as if Ridley Scott’s last-minute replacement of Kevin Spacey with Christopher Plummer is the only thing for which this dour, protracted telling of the Getty kidnapping will be remembered – and that’s not reason enough to watch it.

Molly’s Game
(eOne, 15)
Aaron Sorkin’s first film as a director, but you’re more likely to notice it’s his umpteenth film as a writer. His exhausting dialogue occasionally overwhelms this glibly entertaining poker-racket drama, but Jessica Chastain sashays through it with elan.


Guy Lodge

The GuardianTramp

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