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Why the German entry is a favorite in Cannes

Jochen Kürten / dbMay 19, 2016

The German drama "Toni Erdmann" is a hot contender for the Golden Palm award at the 2016 Cannes film festival. Critics favor director Maren Ade's film, but in the end, it's up to the jury to decide on Sunday.

Cannes Festival, filmmaker Maren Ade, Copyright: Reuters/R. Duvignau
Image: Reuters/R. Duvignau

For about 12 years now, the British magazine "Screen" has published a critics' review of the films competing at the Cannes film festival, inviting 11 renowned international critics to judge the movies: A four-star rating is the critics' highest praise for a film, and the opinions of the 11 critics are compiled to produce an average rating.

German filmmaker Maren Ade's movie "Toni Erdmann" leads the pack with a top rating of 3.8. The only other film that made it that far up the list in Cannes, experts say, is Mike Leigh's 2014 biographical drama, "Mr. Turner".

Filmmaker Maren Ade and actress Sandra Huller Copyright: Getty Images/P. Le Segretain
Filmmaker Maren Ade and lead actress Sandra HullerImage: Getty Images/P. Le Segretain

Critics of the trade magazine "Hollywood Reporter" also pinpoint the German film as a clear favorite among all films at the competition.

Strong competition

It's still too soon for Maren Ade to break out the champagne. The jury and the critics don't always see eye to eye.

A few top-class directors, including the Canadian Xavier Dolan and Iranian Asghar Farhadi, still need to screen their films before the jury decides on the 2016 winner of the Golden Palm.

Director Xavier Dolan Copyright: Reuters
Xavier Dolan's film is still coming upImage: Reuters

No matter how Australian jury president George Miller and his team decide on Sunday, May 22, "Toni Erdmann" has already raked in fame and glory. Ade's film is almost certain to receive an award - if not the coveted top award, then one of the many other distinctions, including Best Screenplay, Best Actor or the Jury's Prize, which comes right after the Golden Palm.

'Toni Erdmann' in demand worldwide

The critics weren't the only ones to react positively to Maren Ade's third feature film: In the wake of the premiere, the film rights were sold to several countries, so "Toni Erdmann" won't just hit movie theaters in Germany soon, but screens in many other European countries as well. The US can also look forward to the drama: Sony Pictures Classics has bought the US rights to the film.

So, after years of absence from the Cannes film festival, a German film is unexpectedly triumphant on the Croisette. And the film's director is a woman, which is particularly interesting in the light of the many debates on an apparent disdain for female directors.

On Sunday, film buffs will know more when George Miller announces: "And the winner is…"