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

pulp fiction movies booed at cannes film festival

The Cannes Film Festival is one of the most prestigious film festivals of the year. First held in 1946, the film festival has seen stars and critics flock to the French Riviera each May for big red carpet premieres and glamorous parties.

Films that premiere at Cannes are often early indicators of the films we should be keeping an eye on for award season too. Parasite premiered at Cannes and went on to win Best Picture at the 2020 Academy Awards, and films like The PianoPulp Fiction and Amour went on to be big competitors in their respective Oscar seasons.

The 2022 festival runs from May 17 – 28, and will host the world premiere of some of the year’s hottest films, like Baz Luhrmann’s highly anticipated Elvis, and Top Gun: Maverick.

One of the most notorious elements of the Cannes Film Festival is of course the audience, who are known for being one of the most passionate — and vocal — audiences in the world.

When the Cannes audience loves a film, they’ll sometimes offer up a 15 or even 20 minute standing ovation, showering the film with love and acclaim. Currently, the record for the longest standing ovation at Cannes is held by Guillermo Del Toro‘s 2006 film Pan’s Labyrinth, which clocked in at a whopping 22 minutes. That’s literally the run time of an episode of Friends!

Perhaps even more notable, though, is the booing. The Cannes audience is quite simply notorious for booing films they don’t like, even if they’re good!

Here, we’ve selected nine films that went on to garner critical acclaim after being booed at Cannes:

Crash (1996)

Synopsis: After getting into a serious car accident, a TV director discovers an underground sub-culture of scarred, omnisexual car-crash victims who use car accidents and the raw sexual energy they produce to try to rejuvenate his sex life with his wife.

Directed by: David Cronenberg

Starring: James Spader, Holly Hunter

Why it was booed: No, not controversial Best Picture winner Crash, the other one. Now considered to be one of David Cronenberg’s best films, Crash often finds itself on ‘Best Films of the ’90s’ round ups… now.

When it premiered at Cannes, it was a different story, though. This film about people who get turned on by car crashes was booed for its controversial subject matter, as well as its graphic violence and sex scenes. Despite the boos, Francis Ford Coppola’s jury still awarded it the Grand Jury Prize.

Rent Crash on Amazon Prime or AppleTV+

The Da Vinci Code (2006)

Synopsis: A murder inside the Louvre, and clues in Da Vinci paintings, lead to the discovery of a religious mystery protected by a secret society for two thousand years, which could shake the foundations of Christianity.

Directed by: Ron Howard

Starring: Tom Hanks, Audrey Tatou

Why it was booed: Based on the bestselling Dan Brown novel of the same name, The Da Vinci Code was quite simply just not a good fit for the Cannes Film Festival. Although Cannes has become progressively more mainstream over the years, it’s known for its highbrow, prestige, artsy films, rather than its big budget blockbusters, and The Da Vinci Code is very much the latter.

Despite the boos, The Da Vinci Code was a box office smash, and the cast returned for the 2009 sequel Angels and Demons.

Watch The Da Vinci Code on BINGE

Inglourious Basterds (2009)

Synopsis: In Nazi-occupied France during World War II, a plan to assassinate Nazi leaders by a group of Jewish U.S. soldiers coincides with a theatre owner’s vengeful plans for the same.

Directed by: Quentin Tarantino

Starring: Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz, Eli Roth, Diane Kruger

Why it was booed: Despite going on to receive eight Academy Award nominations, the Cannes audience is reported to have booed Tarantino’s WWII flick. With that said, there are conflicting reports how just how much booing it received, with some reports stating that the reception was less negative and more one of indifference.

Watch Inglourious Basterds on BINGE

Marie Antoinette (2006)

Synopsis: The retelling of France’s iconic but ill-fated queen, Marie Antoinette. From her betrothal and marriage to Louis XVI at 14 to her reign as queen at 19 and to the end of her reign as queen, and ultimately the fall of Versailles.

Directed by: Sofia Coppola

Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Jason Schwartzman

Why it was booed: Coppola’s Marie Antoinette is a cult classic, beloved for its gorgeous costumes, pastel colour palette and iconic soundtrack. When the flick debuted at Cannes, however, the French audience was less than pleased at Coppola’s yassified take on their nation’s most infamous royal, and boos ensued.

Taxi Driver (1976)

Synopsis: A mentally unstable veteran works as a nighttime taxi driver in New York City, where the perceived decadence and sleaze fuels his urge for violent action.

Starring: Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster

Why it was booed: These days wild to think that this classic Scorsese film could be met with anything other than praise, but when it debuted at Cannes in 1976, the audience booed it for being too violent.

Still, the film was awarded the Palme d’Or, and went on to score four Academy Award nominations.

Rent The Tree of Life on Amazon Prime or AppleTV+

Wild at Heart (1990)

Synopsis: Young lovers Sailor and Lula run from the variety of weirdos that Lula’s mom has hired to kill Sailor.

Directed by: David Lynch

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Laura Dern, Willem Dafoe

Why it was booed: If a David Lynch film is going to do anything, it’s divide the audience reaction. The audience was turned off by Lynch’s brutal violence and filmmaking, who booed the film. The Grand Jury disagreed, awarded the film the Palme d’Or, and Lynch fans now consider it one of the filmmaker’s best.

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