10 Controversial Cannes Films: From Vincent Gallo to David Lynch

The glamourous film festival begins tomorrow and what better way to celebrate than taking a look at 10 controversial Cannes films and where to watch them right now.

THE BROWN BUNNY, dir. Vincent Gallo

The Brown Bunny is perhaps one of the most notorious films that has ever been released at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. The infamous sex scene, featuring Chloe Sevigny performing fellatio, was just one of the cherries on the top. Roger Ebert deemed the film the worst film of the film festival thus far. “It is true that I am fat, but one day I will be thin, and he will still be the director of The Brown Bunny,” Ebert wrote. The Brown Bunny was major controversy but became a sensational cult-hit among Gallo’s fanbase.

Available to watch on: Veoh

ANTICHRIST, dir. Lars Von Trier

Lars Von Trier, just like our other favorite filmmakers, isn’t afraid to speak his mind. His films have often explored dark depths of the human condition and Antichrist is an exceptionally controversial choice to choose. When the film premiered at Cannes in 2009, critics were so widely divided and reportedly four audience members fainted due to the explicit violence. The jury gave the film an “anti-award” and labeled it the “most misogynistic movie from the self-proclaimed biggest director in the world.” Audiences were heard snickering when the titles read the film was dedicated to Soviet filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky.

Available to watch on: Google Play, Amazon

FAHRENHEIT 9/11, dir. Michael Moore

It was the following year after The Brown Bunny when Michael Moore’s highly controversial examination of the Bush presidency debuted. When the political documentary was awarded the Palm d’Or a fifteen-twenty minute standing ovation had followed. Harvey Weinstein, one of the funders of the film, said, “It was the longest standing ovation I’ve seen in over 25 years.” Not since Jacques Cousteau’s and Louis Malle’s The Silent World was a documentary awarded this prize. Though, critics were very divided and many suspect the politics of the film governed its favor from the jury.

Available to watch on: YouTube

VIRIDIANA, dir. Luis Buñuel

The government of Francisco Franco (the former dictator of Spain) attempted to withdraw Buñuel’s Palm d’Or award winning Viridiana. Spain headlines were everywhere claiming the film was blasphemous. The most-talked about scene was the parody of da Vinci’s The Last Supper, to which the Vatican wasn’t so happy about. Buñuel had then said, “I didn’t deliberately set out to be blasphemous, but then Pope John XXIII is a better judge of such things than I am.”

Available to watch on: Hulu +

PULP FICTION dir. Quentin Tarantino

It was the year of Krzysztof Kieslowski’s climax to the his Three Colors Trilogy and many were surprised that Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction won. It was rumored that the problem at this year’s Cannes was that only two jury members had seen any of Kieslowski’s works. There was also the other rumor that speculated Marin Karmitz, the producer of the trilogy, was prone to offending some. When Pulp Fiction did win the Palm d’Or, the Liberation’s headline read: “Cannes endorses the American New Wave.” Many booed the film and reacted harshly when he won. Check this clip of Tarantino not giving two s&^#@!!! :

Available to watch on: iTunes, Google Play, VUDU

IRREVERSIBLE,  dir. Gaspar Noe

Gaspar Noe is a name in the film industry that’s almost synonymous with controversy. His 2002 film Irréversible was greeted with many walk-outs and a dizzied, mostly disgusted audience due to its graphic content and horrifically violent material, particularly a rape scene. David Ansen of Newsweek wrote, “If outraged viewers (mostly women) at the Cannes Film Festival are any indication, this will be the most walked-out-of movie 2003.” He then later wrote that the film was “an adolescent pride in its own ugliness.” Woah…

Available to watch on: Google Play, VUDU, iTunes

THE VOICE OF THE MOON, dir. Federico Fellini

Legendary Italian maestro Frederico Fellini had his controversial moments previously at this glamorous film festival (La Dolce Vita) but, considering this was his last film before passing away, Fellini had faced a rather dismal and unenthusiastic response to the film’s debut.

Available to watch on: YouTube


Attention Lynchian fans: if you weren’t aware of the negative response to cult favorite Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me at the Cannes Film Festival now you know. The film reportedly had stars, including Quentin Tarantino, walk out of the theater, rolling their eyes, bored out of their minds. “After I saw Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me at Cannes, David Lynch had 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. I loved him.”

Available to watch on: Amazon, M-GO, VUDU, iTunes

CRASH, dir. David Cronenberg

David Cronenberg’s Crash (no, not the nail-in-head morality tale starring Sandra Bullock) won the Special Jury Prize the year it was screened at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival. However, the film’s integration of sex with violence was met with audiences sneering and revolted.

Available to watch on: YouTube

MARIE ANTOINETTE, dir. Sofia Coppola

“There are so many great films that have been booed at Cannes. But in the end, they were always pretty bourgeois,” French critic and editor of Positif magazine was once quoted. Marie Antoinette could easily be put into this category. Coppola was met with critics rolling their eyes at the young Coppola’s film effort and was said to be compared to television’s Desperate Housewives in its lonely wife shtick. It was indeed booed at the festival and Coppola responded to USA Today, “I didn’t know the boos-it’s news to me. But it’s better than a mediocre response.”

Available to watch on: iTune, Google Play, VUDU

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