Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

10 Movies Booed At Cannes

Features
by Drew Taylor
May 15, 2013 2:35 PM
37 Comments
  • |


The Tree Of Life

"Tree of Life" (Terrence Malick)
The movie
: A meditative look that combines the lives of a family in suburban Texas in the fifties (led by Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain), the adult life of one of those sons, and the cosmic beginnings of life.
The reaction
: Instead of the usual "it was booed into oblivion," there was a more nuanced response to "Tree of Life" – alongside the smattering of boos (one of us was there and claims that it was a small but vocal minority) was what Entertainment Weekly described as "counter-applause." They cited the "many supporters" as the ones behind the push-back, but still admitted that it was "a shocking way for the movie to debut." This is especially true because no movie at the festival had this kind of Teutonic importance surrounding it – it was something that Malick had been tinkering with, off and on, since right after "Days of Heaven." Critics like Indiewire's own Eric Kohn said that "the booing at the end of today's 'Tree of Life' screening was an ugly, animalistic thing." Pitt, appearing later at the press conference, defended Malick's stylistic choices as well as his desire to remain anonymously aloof. “You know how you have a favorite song and then you hear the band describing your favorite lyrics, and then you’re disappointed?” he asked the press conference crowd, overstuffed with journalists. They responded blankly. “No?” he asked. Later in the festival, the jury (headed by Robert De Niro) awarded "Tree of Life" with the top prize, the Palme d'Or. Who's booing now, bitches?
After Cannes
: "Tree of Life" went on to appear on countless top ten lists that year, mostly at the top of those lists, and was nominated for three Academy Awards that winter – Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Cinematography. In the controversial 2012 Sight & Sound critics poll (the one that had "Vertigo" usurping "Citizen Kane" as the greatest film of all time), 16 critics voted it as one of their 10 greatest films ever made. 

Twin Peaks
"Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me" (David Lynch)
The movie
: An adaptation/prequel/spin-off of Lynch's wildly popular (but ultimately short-lived) ABC television series "Twin Peaks," the movie focused on the last week before teenager Laura Palmer's body washed up on the shore, naked and covered in plastic.
The reaction
: The Cannes reaction to "Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me" was somewhat noteworthy in the sense that, as The Quietus pointed out last year, the heckling boos didn't occur when the movie finished, but happened often throughout the entire course of the movie. "Some members of the audience left the theatre in disgust," The Quietus also noted. Quentin Tarantino, who was at the festival the same year, was captured on videotape leaving the screening. Crestfallen, he said, "I loved him, I loved him…" Later that year, as the Village Voice notes, in an interview with Elia Taylor, Tarantino infamously said, "David Lynch has disappeared so far up his own ass that I have no desire to see another David Lynch movie until I hear something different. And you know, I loved him." Entertainment Weekly critic Owen Glieberman said "like 'Nightmare on Elm Street' directed by Michelangelo Antonioni… a true folly," while The New York Times' notoriously cranky Vincent Canby said: "It's not the worst movie ever made; it just seems to be." Lynch wrote an article for a German movie magazine later that summer and began with piece the following sentence: "At the Cannes Film Festival I've always been asked the same question: Why did you make 'Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me?'"
After Cannes
: Many critics, following its disastrous Cannes debut, have hailed the movie as "David Lynch's masterpiece" (among them British critic Mark Kermode and, in an article published earlier today, The Village Voice's Calum Marsh). It has become one of the touchstones of Lynch miscellanea, both because of its mysterious conception (supposedly Lynch shot enough footage to make three or four movies but chose the "last days of Laura Palmer" storyline; the deleted scenes have become lust-worthy artifacts) and its elliptical interpretations (summed up by this Grantland piece published on its 20th anniversary), which notes both the intricateness of the themes and visuals of "Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me" and its enduring influence on popular culture.

Southland Tales
"Southland Tales" (Richard Kelly)
The movie
: A post-apocalyptic satire by the director of "Donnie Darko" that encompasses time travel, multiple dimensions, a perpetual energy generator, and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson doing a Bugs Bunny impression for the better part of two hours.
The reaction
: While footage uploaded to YouTube shows a cordial response to "Southland Tales," that's far from what actually happened. More than a year later, on the eve of the film's short-lived theatrical debut (in a whopping 63 screens), Dennis Lim of the New York Times described the Cannes response as ranging "from negative to vicious." The screenings were "marred by walkouts and boos." "It was painful," Kelly said to Lim about the Cannes reception, "I just thought, 'Please let it be over.'" The version that played Cannes was largely unfinished, running more than three hours long and featuring uncompleted visual effects and music. British critic Mark Kermode described his thoughts at the time of being: "This is the worst film ever to be nominated for the Palme d'Or." When he left the theater and people asked him what he thought, he said, "Well you're never going to see it in that version because it's so monumentally terrible. And you know what? I was right." (While the Cannes cut has never been officially released, it has made its rounds online as a film geek curio, with even more zigzagging subplots and WTF-worthy performances, including more of Kevin Smith and an entire Janeane Garofalo performance that was axed entirely from the final film.) As the Guardian succinctly put it: "When a rough cut was screened at Cannes, it wasn't just booed – it was denounced."
After Cannes
: The movie was widely panned by pretty much everyone  (Richard Roeper called it "abstract crap") but quickly developed a small but vocal set of defenders, among them The New York Times' Manhola Dargis, the Village Voice's J. Hoberman, Artforum's Amy Taubin and the Village Voice's Nathan Lee. Everyone involved in the movie (including stars Justin Timberlake and Wallace Shawn) expressed a kind of bemused bewilderment in being involved in the movie, which has since gone on have a small cult following, thanks largely to the film's release on home video, where you could watch it multiple times while also smoking weed.

Da Vinci Code

"The Da Vinci Code" (Ron Howard)
The movie
: An adaptation of the Dan Brown historical thriller which sold roughly one billion copies worldwide, starring Tom Hanks as intrepid historical detective Robert Langdon.
The reaction
: The fact that the film was a multi-million-dollar Hollywood spectacular certainly didn't insulate it from the notoriously riotous Cannes audiences. According to The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw, who was quoted in a Bloomberg report about the movie's lousy European response, the initial screening for "The Da Vinci Code" was marked by "a storm of incredulous laughter and the owl-looking hooting that French audiences use to expression derision." The film was opening around the same time in the states and was similarly lambasted. Sukhdev Sandhu, writing for The Telegraph UK, said that "the booing brought Cannes to life," and noted that he and other journalists would swap their favorite groan-worthy "Da Vinci Code" lines like baseball cards ("The Vitruvian Man! It's one of Leonardo da Vinci's most famous sketches!" was one of his favorites). Hollywood and Cannes have always been strange bedfellows; sometimes you want to kick that fellow out of bed almost as soon as they've climbed into it.
After Cannes
: It was released around a swarm of downright hateful critical responses, but the movie was still a hit for Hanks and his director Ron Howard, so much so that they mounted a sequel, "Angels & Demons," which was exponentially sillier (and therefore way more fun) than the predecessor. That film climaxed with Ewan McGregor parachuting away from a miniature black hole that opened up above the Vatican. Aw hell yeah.

Free Indie Movies and Documentaries    

37 Comments

  • JeanieOwen15 | May 31, 2013 8:50 AMReply

    Good article. Sorry about the rip-offs.

  • WendyField30 | May 27, 2013 7:25 AMReply

    until I saw the bank draft which had said $7061, I didnt believe ...that...my father in law actually receiving money in there spare time from there pretty old laptop.. there neighbour haz done this for under 6 months and resantly cleard the morgage on there cottage and bourt a top of the range Porsche 911. read more at, Bow6.com

  • Carol | May 25, 2013 4:39 AMReply

    Not sure if you guys noticed, but Filmstage ripped this feature off lock, stock and barrel. Not the first time either...

  • Rosalie | May 19, 2013 4:40 AMReply

    Maurice Pialat, after receiving the Palme d'Or for "Under the Sun of Satan" and being booed by the audience : "If you don't like me, let me tell you that I don't like you either !"

  • Lou | May 20, 2013 11:10 AM

    Beautiful, beautiful film.

  • GERARD KENNELLY | May 18, 2013 10:56 PMReply

    http://www dot movie2k.to/Star-Trek-Into-Darkness-watch-movie-2966030.html

  • Kate Bradford | May 17, 2013 11:54 AMReply

    I couldn't make it through "The Tree of Life", so I'll definitely side with the haters on that one. I would have been the one cheering enthusiastically for "Inglorious Basterds", however. It's definitely one of Tarantino's best.

  • Samit | May 17, 2013 8:47 AMReply

    Great job done by them, really appreciable ...


    Aaron Emmett

  • Major Kalas | May 16, 2013 7:21 PMReply

    ...after reading the book I realized that Da Vinci Code and Angels And Demons are far better movies then they appear. No wonder DVC is on the list however...

  • Richard Rey | May 16, 2013 3:46 PMReply

    Nice work -- very creative feature.

  • Gatsby | May 16, 2013 7:19 AMReply

    Tennessee Williams was a judge. Wow!

  • oogle monster | May 15, 2013 9:23 PMReply

    "Who's booing now, bitches?" -> That was totally unexpected and hilarious- I actually laughed out loud.

  • Tobi | May 17, 2013 9:06 AM

    Same here, funny loose writing about Cannes of all things!

  • DG | May 15, 2013 5:33 PMReply

    Fuck, I can see booing when the credits roll but booing DURING the movie? Come on Cannes that's just rude. I'm really surprised Basterds was booed too, even a longer cut. It's Tarantinos best movie (IMO) and even if you didn't like some of his stylistic flourishings I don't see whats. It that boo-worthy.

  • pol | May 15, 2013 4:29 PMReply

    "Somewhat bafflingly, the film wasn't released to coincide with the fortieth anniversary of the Woodstock Festival (and the Summer of Love) ..."

    Um. Woodstock was '69. Summer of Love was '67.

    politicalfilm.wordpress.com

  • Boby | May 15, 2013 4:19 PMReply

    Where the hell is Gaspar Noé's Irréversible ? And Marco Ferreri's La Grande Bouffe ? I think they were far more "booed" than something like Taking Woodstock. But I guess they are not very famous movies and they are not made by wellknown directors.

  • andrew | May 15, 2013 3:54 PMReply

    Shame to hear that QT didn't care for Twin Peaks. It's one of my favorite Lynch flicks, but to each is own.

  • zatopek | May 15, 2013 4:21 PM

    I think I heard someone say after Django Unchained: "Tarantino has disappeared so far up his own ass that I have no desire to see another Tarantino movie until I hear something different. And you know, I loved him."

  • ben | May 15, 2013 3:39 PMReply

    "The Brown Bunny" is a piece of shit. It's not so much a movie as it's a 95 minute exercise in narcissism. The film world is so much better without this hack and all his nonsense.

  • Amanda | May 16, 2013 3:22 PM

    @zatopek, my sentiments, exactly.

  • zatopek | May 15, 2013 3:47 PM

    The Brown Bunny is great. So is Buffalo '66.

  • saim | May 15, 2013 3:03 PMReply

    Tree of Life deserved the booing, and it certainly didn't deserve the Palme D'or. It's almost just as ridiculous as giving it the screenplay award.

  • Lou | May 16, 2013 12:59 PM

    Ditto.

  • shark | May 15, 2013 8:36 PM

    At the very least, the reaction to the booing of Tree of Life was immature on the part of ToL's fans. Booing is a storied, legitimate Cannes tradition. Also, yes, totally, it didn't deserve the Palme. It's pretty but totally vacant.

  • bohmer | May 15, 2013 3:12 PM

    troll x 4

  • saim | May 15, 2013 3:02 PMReply

    Tree of Life deserved the booing, and it certainly didn't deserve the Palme D'or. It's almost just as ridiculous as giving it the screenplay award.

  • saim | May 15, 2013 3:02 PMReply

    Tree of Life deserved the booing, and it certainly didn't deserve the Palme D'or. It's almost just as ridiculous as giving it the screenplay award.

  • saim | May 15, 2013 3:02 PMReply

    Tree of Life deserved the booing, and it certainly didn't deserve the Palme D'or. It's almost just as ridiculous as giving it the screenplay award.

  • tristan eldritch | May 15, 2013 2:58 PMReply

    To me, The Da Vinci Code and MAYBE Southland Tales are the only of these movies that truly deserved booing. Olivier Assayas' brilliant Demonlover was also booed if memory serves, (or was it Boarding Gate?)

  • Lou | May 16, 2013 1:01 PM

    Da Vinci's Code: Awful movie.

  • Krista Now | May 15, 2013 3:08 PM

    (And Demonlover is also great in my opinion, one of my favorite of him with Irma Vep)

  • Krista Now | May 15, 2013 3:07 PM

    Southland Tales is fucking awesome. Richard Kelly's movies are totally fascinating and even if this one is far from being perfect, it's still amazing, with pure moments of genius.

  • yer | May 15, 2013 2:39 PMReply

    It's kind of misleading to have The Tree of Life on here as the rest of the films were actually widely booed by the entire crowd while TTOL had some small group of idiots deciding to be rowdy which were immediately drowned out by applause. Source: I was there. Basterds wasn't booed either. Rest of them are accurate.

  • balz | May 21, 2013 12:56 AM

    i was at one of the main inglorious basterds screenings in the palais and it got big applause/laughs throughout. it wasn't the premiere but people loved it, and the film was actually SHORTER by one scene. pretty much the same edit too. still a masterpiece and ridiculously hated on by hasty critics at cannes.

  • balz | May 21, 2013 12:56 AM

    i was at one of the main inglorious basterds screenings in the palais and it got big applause/laughs throughout. it wasn't the premiere but people loved it, and the film was actually SHORTER by one scene. pretty much the same edit too. still a masterpiece and ridiculously hated on by hasty critics at cannes.

  • balz | May 21, 2013 12:56 AM

    i was at one of the main inglorious basterds screenings in the palais and it got big applause/laughs throughout. it wasn't the premiere but people loved it, and the film was actually SHORTER by one scene. pretty much the same edit too. still a masterpiece and ridiculously hated on by hasty critics at cannes.

  • Jesu | May 15, 2013 3:30 PM

    I dunno, Basterds definitely had a tepid, "huh, that's it?" kinda response with scattered applause. American audiences definitely took to it better. Some people obvs didn't love TOL at first either and it's definitely grown in stature with multiple viewings. A lot of the early reviews were head scratchers.

Email Updates