Jim Jarmusch and Quentin Tarantino got red carpet buzz, but who are the top contenders for the prestigious Palme d’Or award on Saturday? A look at the highlights of this year’s film festival.
1. Poor reviews for the opening film
An icon of American independent cinema, Jim Jarmusch, opened the festival on May 14. With his new film, The Dead Don’t Die, the director presented a not-so-serious zombie movie that targets Donald Trump’s America. Bill Murray and Adam Driver play an offbeat cop team, dealing with lots of bloody undead. Tilda Swinton and Danny Glover, as well as music veterans Iggy Pop and Tom Waits, are also in the satirical horror flick. With so many big names, it was a busy premiere on the red carpet, but critics complained about the film’s lack of direction.
2. Quentin Tarantino’s big splash
Only a few days before the beginning of the festival, the organizers were excited to announce the long-awaited film by star director Quentin Tarantino. His new movie, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, was finished in the nick of time — allowing his return to Cannes 25 years after Pulp Fiction won the Palme d’Or.
Leonardo DiCaprio (pictured above in a still from the film), Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie star in drama set in the late 1960s as the hippie movement and Manson Family nightmare gripped Hollywood.
Tarantino’s 10th film, said to be his final one, was the hottest red carpet event of the festival. The movie itself mostly obtained positive reviews, but it’s also a divisive work: For instance, the German judge on the reputed Screen Daily jury didn’t feel it was worth a single star.
3. More competition highlights
Along with Jarmusch and Tarantino, 19 more filmmakers are competing for the top Golden Palm prize awarded on Saturday, May 25.
Among these were star filmmakers like Spain’s master director, Pedro Almodovar, who presented a new melodrama, Pain and Glory. Starring perennial collaborators Penelope Cruz and Antonio Banderas, the work is seen as one of the filmmakers’ best in years and ranks high among the competition’s frontrunners.
Young Ahmed, a film by Belgian brothers and two-time Palme d’Or winners, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, is a timely portrait of the radicalization of young Muslim teen, but the film failed to completely convince critics.
From Great Britain, veteran Ken Loach — another one of the nine filmmakers who have won the Palme d’Or twice to date — returned to the festival with his latest working-class drama, Sorry We Missed You.
The US was represented by Terrence Malick, who won Cannes’ top award in 2011 with The Tree of Life. His much-praised A Hidden Life is based on the true story of an Austrian man who chose to resist the Nazis.
Canadian prodigy Xavier Dolan premiered his new romantic drama, Matthias & Maxime, which obtained generally positive reviews without however landing among the favorites.
French director Abdellatif Kechiche (Blue is the Warmest Color) screened his sequel to Mektoub My Love on Thursday. But it’s a lesser-known director from that country who reaped the most buzz during the festival: Celine Sciamma’s enigmatic drama Portrait of a Lady on Fire is among the top Palm d’Or contenders.
Another French director, Ladj Ly, also garnered strong praise for his debut feature film, Les Miserables, about rebellion in the notorious suburbs of Paris.
South Korea’s preeminent auteur Bong Joon-ho’s creepy Parasite is also among the top contenders, the film having received a standing ovation that was almost as long as the one given to Tarantino’s film.
China’s Diao Yina’s crime noir The Wild Goose Lake also garnered positive festival buzz.
4. Where were the Germans?
It hasn’t been easy for Germany in recent years. German directors are rarely invited by Cote d’Azur festival organizers, as was the case for 2019. Yet, Germany’s money was represented, with four co-productions receiving German funding. There was also some German-language presence, with the Austrian Jessica Hausner invited to the competition for her film Little Joe.
In a side event, Werner Herzog’s new drama, Family Romance, LLC, which he filmed in Japan with amateur actors, was also presented.
5. The jury
Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu was the head of a prominent jury this year, with fellow judges including actresses Elle Fanning (US) and Maimouna N’Diaye (Burkina Faso), as well as a host of directing celebrities: Alice Rohrwacher (Italy), Enki Bilal and Robin Campillo from France, Kelly Reichardt (USA) and Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos.
Read More: https://www.dw.com/en/cannes-film-fest-2019-the-tops-and-the-flops/a-48850069