Maren Ade’s Toni Erdmann. Pedro Almodóvar’s Julieta. Andrea Arnold’s American Honey. Oliver Assayas’ Personal Shopper. Bruno Dumont’s Slack Bay. Jim Jarmusch’s Paterson. Kleber Mendonça Filho’s Aquarius. Christian Mungui’s Graduation. Cristi Puiu’s Sieranevada. Paul Verhoeven’s Elle.
Those films all played In Competition at last year’s Cannes Film Festival and all of them were passed over for the Palme d’Or in favor of Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake. Like the Academy Awards, not every Cannes jury is going to get it right, but the George Miller-led jury was especially wrong in 2016. Though to be fair, that kind of judgment would suggest that I, Daniel Blake is a bad film, which is not entirely true. Like Loach’s previous films, it’s well-intentioned, competently made, socially conscious, and anchored by persuasive performances. But there’s a naivety and arrogant simplicity to the work that makes I, Daniel Blake particularly problematic. To suggest that it’s didactic would seem gravely inadequate.Read More