Lisa Schwarzbaum
May 29, 2009 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Cannes film festival

1. Inglourious Basterds
Brad Pitt owned the red carpet for Quentin Tarantino’s cartoony, genre-aping WWII pic…but Austrian actor Christoph Waltz owns the movie. From the opening scene, Waltz shines as a Nazi officer hunting Jews in France.

2. Broken Embraces
Pedro Almodóvar’s new opus is typically sleek, stylish, essence-of-Almodóvar homage to movies, moviemaking, love, and Penélope Cruz…but is there anything wrong with that? No.

3. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
Likewise, Terry Gilliam made a typically obstreperous, chaotic, semi-failed essence-of-Gilliam mess…but there’s a bittersweet chill in seeing Heath Ledger in his final performance.

4. Antichrist
Lars von Trier said his brutal, scandal-courting new drama was born of a two-year period of deep depression…but why did he have to share the pain? Scenes of sexual mutilation in this gruesome story of a couple in hell elicited involuntary groans, then boos.

5. A Prophet
Ang Lee’s eagerly anticipated Taking Woodstock underwhelmed…but this sinewy coming-of-age-in-French-prison drama wowed audiences early and stayed at the top of the popularity chart.

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