The 2018 Cannes Film Festival is about to start. With that in mind, here is a ranking of every film that won the Grand Prix in this century, from 2001 to 2017.
It is never too late to remember that a ranking is something that is very personal, so if you disagree with the order of the list, feel free to leave your ranking in the comments section below.
At the end of every topic, there is the opinion regarding whether the movie should have won the Palme d’Or, and this only represents the opinion of the writer of this article. As with every award, fans of film can debate if the movies should or should not have won, so please share your thoughts in the comments section below as well.
So, here are the 18 21st century winners of the Grand Prix, ranked:
18. It’s Only the End of the World (dir. Xavier Dolan)
In the weakest film of his career, Xavier Dolan follows the story of a writer who is about to die, and after more than a decade away, goes back to the home of his family planning to tell them he is ill.
With an amazing cast featuring Marion Cotillard, Léa Seydoux, Vincent Cassel and Gaspard Ulliel, this movie, which approaches bitterness and non-communication, has a very intriguing plot, but turns out to be definitely not as great as it could have been.
Should it have won the Palme d’Or? No. It should not even have won the Grand Prix. And this was also a year when the jury decided to award “I, Daniel Blake” with the Palme d’Or instead of movies such as Maren Ade’s “Toni Erdmann,” Paul Verhoeven’s “Elle,” Jeff Nichols’ “Loving” or “Park Chan-wook’s “The Handmaiden,” movies that are superior to “I, Daniel Blake” and “It’s Only the End of the World.”
17. Flanders (dir. Bruno Dumont)
In 2006, filmmaker Bruno Dumont was competing for the Palme d’Or with the film “Flanders,” which follows the story of Demester, a young man who works on a farm and spends time with his girlfriend Barbe. Alongside other men of his age, he is sent to war and everything changes.
Even though it has some problems in its rhythm, “Flanders” is really not a bad film. Its strong story and the way the directing is able to create a very singular atmosphere definitely makes this story worth watching.
Should it have won the Palme d’Or? No. The Palme d’Or that year went to Ken Loach’s “The Wind that Shakes the Barley,” a film that also approaches war and is overall a superior film.
16. The Kid with a Bike (dir. The Dardenne Brothers)
Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne had already won the Palme d’Or twice – “Rosetta” (1999) and “The Child” (2005) – when they were competing again with “The Kid with a Bike.”
The movie follows the story of kid who is abandoned by his father and who meets a hairdresser who fosters the kid on the weekends. Although he stays emotionally distant from her, she starts trying to become the mother this kid never had.
With all the classic traces of the Dardenne Brothers’ filmography, “The Kid with a Bike” might not be among the best of their career or even among the best of that year’s festival, which had movies like Nicolas Winding Refn’s “Drive,” Aki Kaurismaki’s “Le Havre,” Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s “Once Upon a Time in Anatolia” and Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life” in competition. Still, this is a film that is definitely worth checking out.
Should it have won the Palme d’Or? No. It should not have tied with “Once Upon a Time in Anatolia” in the Grand Prix as well. Also, the winner of the Palme d’Or that year was “The Tree of Life,” a movie that truly deserved the award.
15. Gomorra (dir. Matteo Garrone)
The first of the two Matteo Garrone films to win the Grand Prix, this film approaches criminal organizations in modern southern Italy.
Based on a book written by journalist and writer Roberto Saviano, who also worked on the script for this film, “Gomorra” follows five different stories. With strong performances and great cinematography, “Gomorra” is definitely a movie that should be watched.
Should it have won the Palme d’Or? No. The award that year went to the strong film “The Class,” directed by Laurent Cantet. Also, there were in competition movies such as James Gray’s “Two Lovers,” Lucrecia Martel’s “The Headless Woman,” Charlie Kaufman’s “Synecdoche, New York,” Pablo Trapero’s “Leonera” and Zhangke Jia’s “24 City”, movies that are superior to “Gomorra.”
14. The Wonders (dir. Alice Rohrwacher)
Written and directed by Alice Rohrwacher, “The Wonders” follows the story of a family of beekeepers that lives in Tuscan. One day, a troubled teenage boy arrives at their home and a TV show has the intent of exhibiting their life.
A very poetic film with a great script, “The Wonders” is truly a singular and intriguing movie. Approaching the routine of the family and examining the relationship between them, their hopes and dreams, “The Wonders” is definitely a movie worth checking out.
Should it have won the Palme d’Or? No. In 2014, the winner of the award was “Winter Sleep,” directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan, a movie that definitely deserved the award. Also, movies such as Naomi Kawase’s “Still the Water,” Andrey Zvyagintsev’s “Leviathan,” Abderrahmane Sissako’s “Timbuktu” and Jean-Luc Godard’s “Goodbye to Language” were in competition that year.
13. Broken Flowers (dir. Jim Jarmusch)
Starring Bill Murray, “Broken Flowers” follows the story of a man on a journey to find four of his former lovers after he finds out that he has a son. This dramatic comedy has one of the best performances in Murray’s career.
Full of great dialogue and with very intriguing characters, “Broken Flowers” should definitely be considered among Jim Jarmusch’s greatest works and is a movie definitely worth checking out.
Should it have won the Palme d’Or? No. The Palme d’Or that year went deservedly to the Dardenne Brothers’ the “The Child,” and the Grand Prix should have gone to David Cronenberg’s “A History of Violence” or Michael Haneke’s “Hidden.”
12. A Prophet (dir. Jacques Audiard)
Starring Tahar Rahim, Jacques Audiard’s “A Prophet” follows the story of Malik El Djebena, a 19-year-old man who is sent to prison. Although appearing to be fragile and lost at first and only wanting to serve his time in peace, he gets caught in the middle of the division between Corsicans (who rule the prison) and Muslims, and becomes a part of the Corsicans’ activities.
With a very strong performance from Tahar Rahim, and even though the movie kind of loses its rhythm in the last half, its very intriguing leading character and the powerful directing makes it a film that every cinephile should watch.
Should it have won the Palme d’Or? No. In that year “The White Ribbon” won the award, and this film is probably the best Palme d’Or winner of this century so far.
11. Reality (dir. Matteo Garrone)
The second film by Matteo Garrone to win the Grand Prix, “Reality” is a very intriguing film about a fishmonger who becomes obsessed in participating on a reality show, something that makes him start to often perceive reality in a kind of different way.
With a very interesting script and good characters, alongside the fine performance by Aniello Arena in the leading role, “Reality” is a very entertaining film that mixes comedy and drama. Even though it seems a little lost at some points – something that perfectly fits the concept of the film – and though it has some problems with its rhythm, this is a movie worth checking out.
Should it have won the Palme d’Or? No. The award that year was given to Michael Haneke’s “Amour,” definitely a superior film and with astonishing performances by Emmanuelle Riva and Jean-Louis Trintignant. Also, the Grand Prix should probably have gone to the masterpiece “Holy Motors,” directed by Leos Carax.
10. The Man Without a Past (dir. Aki Kaurismaki)
“The Man Without a Past” is the second part of Aki Kaurismaki’s “Finland Trilogy.” It follows the story of a man who arrives in Helsinki and develops amnesia after being beaten up. He cannot remember his name or anything that happened in his life and has to start it all over again.
With all the traces of Kaurismaki’s filmography, “The Man Without a Past” is a movie that definitely should be watched. With an intriguing cinematography and a great mix of comedy and drama, this is another great movie in the filmography of Kaurismaki.
Should it have won the Palme d’Or? No. That year’s winner was Roman Polanski’s “The Pianist,” a movie that definitely deserved the award.