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OxView: Best of Cannes

Kenji Newton runs through his top picks of the 2017 festival

The Square

A satire on the world of high art, Ruben Ostlund’s The Square follows gallery director Christian (Claes Bang) as he readies his gallery for an exhibition (the titular Square) which intends to instil an altruistic disposition in the public. Meanwhile, Christian’s personal life collapses as he seeks to recover his possessions after an unorthodox mugging. While not originally tipped to be a winner, this satire promises to be, in the words of Guardian critic Peter Bradshaw, ‘thrillingly weird’.

You Were Never Really Here

Based on the novella of the same name by Jonathan Ames, You Were Never Really Here is a gripping yet deeply painful exploration of the morality of revenge. It follows veteran Joe (Joaquin Phoenix), a man paid by private clients to rescue children from sex rings. Director Lynne Ramsay (We Need to Talk About Kevin) delivers a film that doesn’t fetishize violence, but doesn’t shy away from it in connection to the depravity of revenge. Winning both best actor and best screenplay, You Were Never Really Here promises an emotional experience you’ll find hard to forget.

The Beguiled

Set during the American Civil War, Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled follows the journey of John McBurney (Colin Farrell) an Irish Unionist soldier who finds himself a deserter and wounded in Confederate territory. Nursed back to health in a southern seminary home, John begins to draw the attentions of several of his female carers. Coppola, however, is careful to put a twist on the 1966 novel on which the film is based, adopting a feminist lens, and doing away with the sexualised fantasy of the original work. A feminist drama (which happens to feature a rather impromptu surgery with a hacksaw), The Beguiled is not to be missed.

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