1. Bad Education
The opening film from Cannes will be the NYFF’s centerpiece—a scandalously scintillating picture inspired by Pedro Almodóvar’s Catholic-school years, starring Gael García Bernal as one of two young men who grow up but never quite grow out of the church.
2. Look At Me
The opening-night film of the festival, Agnès Jaoui’s drama took Best Screenplay at Cannes for its sharp comic writing about social-climbing, egotistical artists on the make.
3. Tropical Malady
A surprising finalist for the Cannes Grand Jury prize, Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s experimental and self-consciously mythic film tracks a soldier who falls for a country boy—and gets lost in a very wild wilderness.
4. Or (My Treasure)
A Tel Aviv prostitute wages daily battles with her prurient young daughter in Keren Yedaya’s Israeli feature—winner of the Cannes Camera d’Or for best debut film.
5. Notre Musique
Most reviewers thought that Jean-Luc Godard—shouldn’t he be dipped in gold by now?—was back in top form with this Dante-inspired triptych of a film about Paradise, Purgatory, and, yes, Hell, as envisioned in contemporary locales like the Middle East and Sarajevo.