Festival de Cannes 70: Joel Coen (and Ethan Coen), 1996

A sunny shout-out to 70 winners at the Cannes Film Festival to celebrate the 70th event which is just around the corner – in no particular order.

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Fargo seems to somehow encapsulate all that is exceptional about Joel and Ethan Coen and their repertoire of outstanding film-making. And that there is nobody else quite like them. So infiltrating, so impressive is their 1996 ground-breaker (even for Oscar voters, finally) that even today it remains their best according to many. The acting is first-rate, the Coens write and direct with such gritty fervor, Carter Burwell’s stimulating music, not to mention Roger Deakins never putting a foot wrong with his visual scope. Taking their trademark fumbled crime kidnapping scenario to new heights, with the added mix of violence, quirky dialect, and a bold diversity of characters, Fargo also offers a genuine scope of humanity, be it the unethical way a car salesman would treat his family for money, or the homely, grounded attitude of an efficient, jovial pregnant police trooper. Full to the brim with set-pieces sequences of all natures, Fargo‘s layers and invigoration will never wilt. With the win here, Joel Coen now has three Best Director prizes from Cannes – and I am fairly certain he shared every one with his (co-director) brother.

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