Festival de Cannes 70: István Szabó, 1981

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.

The sheer range of winners in Cannes with the Prix du scénario (award for best Screenplay) is still impressive, even if limited by the fact this particular prize was not even awarded for nearly half the years it existed. Also winning the FIPRESCI Prize as well as Screenplay in 1981, István Szabó‘s Mephisto is an exhausting obsession movie. There’s a lot going on here too, like the rise of the Nazi party, while our protagonist has an affair with a mixed race woman. The elements that make this story truly mean something though are not just used flippantly, nor are they over-powering the narrative. What does scream louder than anything else is that this is a movie about acting (however deeply you want to look into that as a social theme) with the incredible lead performance by Klaus Maria Brandauer. “I need the German language, I need the motherland, don’t you see!” he declares in despair at one point, in a moment, like many others, that is the most important thing in the world. Watch it with Cabaret, you decide the order.

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