Cannes is always a great place to see and hear brilliant pop music, often divorced from its usual context, and 2015 has been no different. Here’s my personal playlist of top pop moments from the Competition and sidebars.
1. ‘Say You, Say Me’
Miguel Gomes’ epic 6hr+ tapestry of tales, Arabian Nights, playing in Directors’ Fortnight, offers bounty of musical highlights to choose from, but top of the heap has to be the tragicomedy of Lionel Richie’s ‘Say You, Say Me’ on vinyl at a dinner party in the final part of Arabian Nights: Volume 2, The Desolate One.
2. ‘Sound Of Da Police’
Emmanuelle Bercot’s Opening Night film Standing Tall drew its fair share of complaints that it was a little flat and uncinematic. They’re perhaps not unjustified, but an early scene where juvenile delinquent Malony (Rod Paradot) goes joy-riding is one of the most kinetic in the film and is appropriately soundtracked by KRS-One’s ‘Sound Of Da Police’.
3. ‘You Got The Love’
Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth in the main Competition may have divided critics on the Croisette, but surely no-one could disagree with the joy of the opening scene, where a hotel covers band plays a swooping, swooning version of Candi Stanton’s disco classic ‘You Got The Love’.
4. ‘Something’s Gotten Hold Of My Heart’
And speaking of hotel covers, Britain’s own Olivia Colman scores a spot in the list courtesy of a hilariously straight-faced version of ‘Something’s Gotten Hold Of My Heart’, in Yorgos Lanthimos’ dark Competition comedy The Lobster. Performed in the hotel her character runs to help single people find love, it’s possibly the best deadpan karaoke moment in film since Bill Murray’s ‘More Than This’ in Lost In Translation. It’s also one of two songs with a Nick Cave connection to make an appearance in The Lobster – there’s also room for Cave’s crossover hit ‘Where The Wild Roses Grow’, while ‘Something’s Gotten Hold Of My Heart’ was of course also covered by Cave & co on Kicking Against The Pricks.
In Alice Winocour’s Un Certain Regard entry Maryland, sound design is used to help indicate an Afghanistan vet’s post-traumatic stress disorder. It never seems quite so unsettling as when he wanders in a daze through a wealthy mansion party of arms dealers, aristocrats, politicians and other dodgy sorts, all going nuts on the dance floor to Azealia Bank’s breakout hit ’212′.
6. ‘Nazi Punks Fuck Off’
The political undercurrent of this section of the playlist takes a turn from thriller to horror in Jeremy Saulnier’s brutal, blood-pumping siege nightmare Green Room (Directors’ Fortnight), as punk band the Ain’t Rights go from covering the Dead Kennedys’ minute-long howl of anger to fighting for their lives against far-right white supremacists.
7. ‘Love Is A Losing Game’
From genre horror to the horrors of reality, with a track from Amy Winehouse, whose too-brief life and career is the subject of Asif Kapadia’s hard-to-watch doc. Of the many musical moments in the film, it’s ‘Love Is A Losing Game’ which perhaps even more than the more obviously illuminating ‘Rehab’ gets to the heart of the issue.
8. ‘Love Is A Song’
To end on an uplifting note, closing out Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s meditative Un Certain Regard entry Cemetery Of Splendour is this superbly game and earwormy little pop number that I haven’t been able to get out of my head all week. It’s not on Spotify, so here’s the YouTube embed: