Take a Peek! These 10 Films Received the Longest Standing Ovations at Cannes

Pan's Labyrinth

The 2023 Cannes Film Festival has begun, and is set to premiere some of the most highly anticipated titles of the year. Hot off the heels of her eighth Oscar nomination, Cate Blanchett’s new film, The New Boy, will premiere at the prestigious festival, but how it will be received remains to be seen. Will it be booed, like so many otherwise well-received films? Or will it become another film that makes the prestigious list of films that received the longest standing ovations at Cannes? After all, that’s what happened to Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis last year.

Last year, Elvis debuted to a 12-minute standing ovation and was a huge win for the Australian film industry. The film went on to receive eight Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Austin Butler.

Warwick Thornton’s The New Boy to Premiere at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival

This year, Australian director Warwick Thornton will return to Cannes for the global premiere of his new film, The New Boy, which stars Cate Blanchett. In 2009, Thornton won the Caméra d’Or (Golden Camera) for Best First Feature for his debut film, Samson & Delilah.

The New Boy is set in 1940s Australia, and is a story of spiritual struggle and the cost of survival. It tells the story of a nine-year-old Aboriginal orphan boy (played by newcomer Aswan Reid) who arrives in the dead of night at a remote monastery. Cate Blanchett plays the renegade nun, and the boy’s arrival is a disturbance to the delicately balanced world of the monastery she runs.

Deborah Mailman and Wayne Blair co-star in the film, which will also introduce a slew of new faces in the Australian acting scene, including Shane Brady, Tyrique Brady, Laiken Woolmington, Kailem Miller, Kyle Miller, Tyzailin Roderick and Tyler Spencer.

The Cannes Film Festival Audience

Of course, the Cannes Film Festival audience is renowned for being one of the most passionate — and vocal — in the world. If they hate a film, they’ll let you know with an onslaught of boos. But when they love a film? They’ll offer up a rapturous, lengthy standing ovation.

But does a lengthy Cannes Film Festival standing ovation mean that a film is good? Not necessarily. In fact, many film critics are begging people to stop timing standing ovations, because festival hype is real, and conflating a film’s merit with how long its standing ovation was can be reductive and unhelpful.

With that being said, there are instances where a rapturous applause does lead to success at award season. As you’ll see in the list below, many of these films went on to receive Oscar nominations, critical acclaim, or develop a reputation as a cult classic.

How The New Boy is received by the audience remains to be seen. Until then, here are the longest Cannes Film Festival standing ovations to date.

Related: 9 Iconic Films That Garnered Critical Acclaim After Being Booed at Cannes

Standing Ovation Meaning

If you’re unfamiliar, a standing ovation is lengthy applause during which the crowd or audience rise to their feet to clap and cheer. The Cannes audience is notorious its lengthy standing ovations.

The 10 Films With the Longest Standing Ovations At Cannes

Elvis (2022) — 12 Minutes

Directed by: Baz Luhrmann
Written by: Baz Luhrmann, Sam Bromell, Craig Pearce
Starring: Tom Hanks, Austin Butler, Olivia DeJonge
Synopsis: The life of American music icon Elvis Presley, from his childhood to becoming a rock and movie star in the 1950s while maintaining a complex relationship with his manager, Colonel Tom Parker.
Where to watch: Streaming on BINGE

The Artist (2011) — 12 Minutes

Directed by: Michel Hazanavicius
Written by: Michel Hazanavicius
Starring: Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, John Goodman
Synopsis: An egomaniacal film star develops a relationship with a young dancer against the backdrop of Hollywood’s silent era.
Where to watch: Streaming on Stan

Bowling for Columbine (2002) — 13 Minutes

Directed by: Michael Moore
Written by: Michael Moore
Starring: Michael Moore, Charlton Heston, Marilyn Manson
Synopsis: Filmmaker Michael Moore explores the roots of America’s predilection for gun violence.
Where to watch: Streaming on Prime Video

Belle (2021) — 14 Minutes

Directed by: Mamoru Hosoda
Written by: Mamoru Hosoda
Starring: Kaho Nakamura, Ryo Narita, Shôta Sometani
Synopsis: Suzu is a shy high school student living in a rural village. For years, she has only been a shadow of herself. But when she enters “U”, a massive virtual world, she escapes into her online persona as Belle, a globally-beloved singer.
Where to watch: Streaming on BINGE

Capernaum (2018) — 15 Minutes

Directed by: Nadine Labaki
Written by: Nadine Labaki, Jihad Hojeily, and Michelle Keserwany (screenplay), in collaboration with Georges Khabbaz and Khaled Mouzanar
Starring: Zain Al Rafeea, Yordanos Shiferaw, Boluwatife Treasure Bankole
Synopsis: While serving a five-year sentence for a violent crime, a 12-year-old boy sues his parents for neglect.
Where to watch: Streaming on SBS on Demand

The Paperboy (2012) — 15 Minutes

Directed by: Lee Daniels
Written by: Peter Dexter, Lee Daniels
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Nicole Kidman, John Cusack
Synopsis: A reporter returns to his Florida hometown to investigate a case involving a death row inmate.
Where to watch: Streaming on SBS on Demand

The Neon Demon (2016) — 17 Minutes

Directed by: Nicolas Winding Refn
Written by: Nicolas Winding Refn, Mary Laws, Polly Stenham
Starring: Elle Fanning, Christina Hendricks, Keanu Reeves
Synopsis: An aspiring model, Jesse, is new to Los Angeles. However, her beauty and youth, which generate intense fascination and jealousy within the fashion industry, may prove themselves sinister.
Where to watch: Streaming on Stan

Mud (2012) — 18 Minutes

Directed by: Jeff Nichols
Written by: Jeff Nichols
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Tye Sheridan Jacob Lofland
Synopsis: Two young boys encounter a fugitive and form a pact to help him evade the vigilantes that are on his trail and to reunite him with his true love.
Where to watch: Streaming now on Prime Video

Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004) — 20 Minutes

Directed by: Michael Moore
Written by: Michael Moore
Starring: Michael Moore, George W. Bush, Ben Affleck
Synopsis: Michael Moore’s view on what happened to the United States after September 11 and how the Bush Administration allegedly used the tragic event to push forward its agenda for unjust wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Where to watch: Streaming now on Docplay, or available to rent or buy on AppleTV

Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) — 22 Minutes

Directed by: Guillermo del Toro
Written by: Guillermo del Toro
Starring: Ivana Baquero, Ariadna Gil, Sergi López
Synopsis: In the Falangist Spain of 1944, the bookish young stepdaughter of a sadistic army officer escapes into an eerie but captivating fantasy world.
Where to watch: Streaming in iView

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