The first rule about not being in Cannes is that you can still talk about Cannes.
Writer-director Maren Ade has really put herself on the Cannes map with the bittersweet, life-affirming Toni Eerdman, a father-daughter relationship movie like no other it seems. Dentures, a Whitney Houston rendition, a monster costume, significant scene of mass nudity, only go so far in illuminating the various dynamics and plot surprises highly praised here. The central characters, the lonely father Winfried (Peter Simonischek) and the more repressed daughter Ines (Sandra Hüller) are estranged, it takes disguises and pranks to break the tough ice. Ade takes her time with this exploration of adult relationships, described as a refreshing comedy / drama blend, full to the brim with character progression, twists, awkward and funny moments. The film is reported to have received plenty of laughs and applause at its Cannes screening.
Already touted as the Palme d’Or front-runner. If a woman is going to win Best Director it could be here, but Cannes voting is without agenda, so my guess is that Ade could pick up the screenplay prize. Otherwise there is a strong whiff of Best Actor for Peter Simonischek, and equally Sandra Hüller were the Best Actress prize so hotly contended already.