THR’S CRITICS AT THE FEST SWOONED FOR ‘COLD WAR,’ ‘BURNING’ AND ‘SHOPLIFTERS,’ AND SINGLED OUT TWO STAR-MAKING LEAD PERFORMANCES.
South Korean filmmaker Lee Chang-dong’s latest is a stunning, slow-building romantic thriller in which an aspiring writer and a rich hotshot become rivals for the affections of a charismatic young woman. In his review, Todd McCarthy writes: “Director Lee Chang-dong establishes and then sustains an almost trancelike state while still keeping a simple yet elusive story afloat. This is a beautifully crafted film loaded with glancing insights about class privilege, reverberating family legacies, creative confidence, self-invention, sexual jealousy, justice and revenge.”
Grand Prize (2nd place): ‘Shoplifters’
A ragtag family of petty thieves provides an affectionate home for an abused little girl in Kore-eda Hirokazu’s tender family drama. The film is “studded with memorable characters and believable performances that quietly lead the viewer to reflect on societal values,” Deborah Young writes in her review. “Who better than Kore-eda, a director who whispers instead of shouts, is able to capture contradictions and issues though such a subtle, unforced style of storytelling?”
Jury Prize (3rd place): ‘Cold War’
A companion piece to his foreign-language Oscar winner Ida, this is yet another exploration of Soviet-era angst from director Pawel Pawlikowski. Tracking the relationship between two Polish musicians as they shuttle back and forth across the Iron Curtain, from Warsaw to Paris and beyond, the film, writes Leslie Felperin, is “bittersweet and unbearably lovely, a sad ballad of two lovers who can’t stand to stay apart but also sometimes can’t stand each other.”