Cover Here are nine Palme d'Or-winning movies to watch ahead of the Cannes Film Festival 2021 (Photo: Courtesy of Imdb)

Ahead of the upcoming Cannes Film Festival on July 6–17, we list out nine Palme d'Or-winning movies that you should watch

The Oscars might be the biggest award show when it comes to movies but the Cannes Film Festival remains one of the most prestigious film festivals. The highly coveted Palme d'Or also remains as one of the movie industry's highest honours and has been given to some of the most notable directors.

Following the cancellation of 2020's edition due to the pandemic, the void that the influential film festival left can be felt. Ahead of the upcoming Cannes Film Festival on July 6–17, we list out nine Palme d'Or-winning movies that you should watch (or rewatch), from the ground-breaking black comedy, Parasite to the classic Pulp Fiction.

See also: Cannes Film Fest: 7 Things You May Not Know About The Awards

1. Parasite

Bong Joon-ho is no stranger to the film festival circuit. But Parasite's historic win at Cannes in 2019 and subsequently in the Oscars, propelled the director, the movie and even in some way, South Korean cinema into the limelight or at least beyond your average art-house viewers.

Bong's dark comedy-drama dives into the economic disparities in South Korea through the eyes of two families from two different worlds. Parasite is perhaps Bong's magnum opus, further propelled by his stellar cast including Song Kang-ho, Choi Woo-shik and Park Soo-dam.

Winning year: 2019

Streaming on: Amazon Prime

See also: Why Bong Joon-ho's Parasite Is A True Cinematic Masterpiece

2. Taxi Driver

Taxi Driver is one of the most notable Palm d'Or winners and also noted by some critics as one of the greatest films of all time. The movie established renowned director Martin Scorsese's career and boasts a star-studded cast led by Robert De Niro and Jodie Foster. Taxi Driver follows a New York taxi driver and war veteran, Travis Bickle (De Niro) and his deteriorating mental health as he works in the city.

Winning year: 1976

Streaming on: Netflix

3. Pulp Fiction

Quentin Tarantino has an impressive number of films under his belt but somehow, Pulp Fiction remains timeless, particularly his huge impact on pop culture and the films that come after it. This neo-noir black comedy crime film tells the story of criminal Los Angeles, led by John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis, Tim Roth, Ving Rhames and Uma Thurman. This classic movie has appeared on many critics' list of greatest films ever made and if you're going to be watching a Palme d'Or-winning movie, this one is a given.

Winning year: 1994

Streaming on: Hulu

4. The Tree of Life

Terrence Malick's experimental drama film, The Tree of Life seems to have unlocked the director's creative vision. This transcendent epic chronicles the meaning of life through the eyes of a middle-aged man's memories, beginning from his adolescence in 1950's Texas, alongside images of the origins of the universe and how life came to be on Earth. While initially receiving polarising reviews but since winning the top prize at Cannes–the first American film to do so since Fahrenheit 9/11 in 2004—it garnered critical acclaim.

Winning year: 2011

Streaming on: Hulu

5. Blue Is The Warmest Colour

Blue Is The Warmest Colour—based on the eponymous graphic novel—garnered controversy when it premiered at Cannes and even before its release due to the poor working conditions on the set, allegedly by the crew and the lead actresses as well as the movie's depiction of sexuality.

But movie's exploration of the beginning, middle and end of a relationship, looking at various aspects of the romance from Adèle's teenage years to her early adult life. The movie is the first to have the Palme d'Or awarded to both the director and lead actresses (Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux), the only two other women besides Jane Campion to have won the award.

Winning year: 2013

Streaming on: Netflix

See also: Top Non-English Films You Should Watch ASAP

6. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

The upcoming Cannes Film Festival marks director Apichatpong Weerasethakul return so it only feels right to watch his Palme d'Or-winning work, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives. Other than making history as the first Thai movie to win the prestigious award, this 2010 movie is filled with entrancing imagery, powerful visual storytelling and a unique style that established Weerasethakul as one of the most notable Asian directors today. The movie explores the themes of reincarnation and follows the last days of its title character.

Winning year: 2010

Streaming on: Amazon Prime



7. Shoplifters

After being a frequent presence at many international film festivals and one of the most loved Japanese contemporary directors, Hirokazu Kore-eda finally took home his first Palme d'Or with Shoplifters.

Known for his gentle touch and family dramas, Shoplifters is Kore-eda at his best, combining elements of his previous works while still maintaining the style that he's known for, his rich, endearing humanistic approach. This family drama depicts a makeshift family who copes with poverty through shoplifting. They eventually have to take a little girl in and explore the question of, "what makes a family?"

Winning year: 2018

Streaming on: Netflix

See also: Tatler Review: Why Is Hirokazu Kore-eda's Shoplifters An Anti-Family Film?

8. The Piano

The Piano remains the only Palme d'Or-winning movie to be directed by a woman and in the years to follow, Jane Campion's historic win still hasn't given the mantle to anyone. This period drama set in the mid-19th century, marks Anna Paquin's debut role starring alongside Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel and Sam Neill.

It focuses on a psychologically non-verbal Scottish woman who travels to a remote part of New Zealand with her young daughter following an arranged marriage to a frontiersman. The movie received high praise for Hunter and Paquin's performance, with the latter winning an Oscar award.

Winning year: 1993

Amazon Prime

See also: Chloe Zhao Wins Best Director—Here's 5 Things To Know About Her

9. The Ballad Of Narayama

Directed by Shohei Imamura—the only Japanese director to win two Palme d'Or awards—The Ballad Of Narayama explore the practice of obasute (translated to "abandoning a parent", where elderly people were carried to a mountain and left to die. Orin (Sumiko Sakamoto), despite still being strong at the age of 69, prepares herself for the inevitable.

Since food in her village is scarce, anyone that's beyond 70 years old must practice obasute. While she accepts her fate, she must first find a wife for her son. While comparisons have been made from a previous adaptation (which garnered critical acclaim) as well as the book it's inspired from, Imamura's movie takes on a more brutal, realistic approach.

Winning year: 1983

Streaming on: Amazon Prime

See also: 10 Baeksang Awards-Nominated Dramas And Movies To Watch

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