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Cannes Compétition Prospectus – You Were Never Really Here

You Were Never Really Here

Lynne Ramsay

United Kingdom, United States, France

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“Male directors are often criticized for having a taste for gratuitous violence, but Ramsay gets down with the big boys in proving that blowing heads off can be a genderless pursuit. “You Were Never Really Here” is rumored to have only been finished in the nick of time for the festival, and it feels incomplete, not in terms of technical polish, but as if the concept for the script had not been fully hashed out before shooting began.” – Barbara Scharres (

“It is a movie which teeters perpetually on the verge of hallucination, with hideous images and horrible moments looming suddenly through the fog; its movement is largely inward and downward, into a swamp of suppressed abuse memories which are never entirely pieced together or understood – even as the sickeningly violent action continues.” – Peter Bradshaw (The Guardian)

“The film is graphic in its violence but Ramsay leapfrogs over certain incidents, sure that the audience knows that more lives have been taken without the need to show the grisly details of Joe at work with his weapon of choice — a hammer. Ramsay has also changed aspects of the book to make Joe someone who is both rescuer and rescued, providing light at the end of a very dark tunnel.” – Allan Hunter (Screen Daily)


Last in Cannes in 2011 for We Need to Talk About Kevin, Lynne Ramsay has also won prizes at the festival for two short films. This year, the female filmmaker has shaken things up on the final competition day of the festival with You Were Never Really Here – making such a late surge in its positive reception, all bets might be off. Joaquin Phoenix could compete for Best Actor, but eyes are on Ramsay herself, perhaps a Best Director prize to mirror the current female filmmakers rise, a movement supported by many of the jury. If Andrea Arnold can get the Jury Prize for American Honey, Ramsay (and/or Coppola) can score here.



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