Cannes 2019 Lineup Revealed

Yesterday saw the release of Cannes’ Official Selection, and, although there are many more announcements to come (including the usually-impressive Directors Fortnight line-up), we’re now able to get a picture of what to expect on the Croisette in 2019.

Aside from The Dead Don’t Die (which isn’t, as it turns out, an elaborate April Fool’s joke), Jim Jarmusch’s pre-announced zombie comedy festival opener, the biggest In Competition draws are surely Pedro Almodóvar’s Pain and Glory, and Terrence Malick’s A Hidden Life. The former sees the lauded Argentinian director taking an 8 ½-esque look at his own life as a filmmaker, whereas the latter is a 3-hour drama about a conscientious objector in Nazi Germany. Both are sure to prove controversial for different reasons, although it will be interesting to see if Malick has gotten his mojo back after a string of divisive, samey works (the last time a Malick film played In Competition, it was The Tree of Life in 2011, which is surely a good sign).

The Dead Don’t Die

Elsewhere In Competition, Bong Joon Ho brings his fantastic-looking class-relations drama Parasite, which has more than a whiff of last year’s Burning; and Diao Yinan follows up his superlative noir Black Coal, Thin Ice with The Wild Goose Lake, which already has a stunning poster. Other highlights include a new film from Ken Loach, and the next work from Céline Sciamma, whose wonderful Girlhood suggested a very bright future. Ira Sachs’ intriguing Frankie provides the compulsory (and welcome) Isabelle Huppert vehicle of the festival, whilst the Dardenne’s bring their hot-topic Young Ahmed, which could either be fantastic or atrocious. Meanwhile, insomniacs are in luck, as Xavier Dolan brings his Matthias and Maxime to the Croisette – we’re sure it’ll be characteristically unbearable.

A Hidden Life

Outside of competition, Nic Refn will be bringing his long-gestating, much-hyped, and superlatively risky Too Old To Die Young series to the festival too, echoing its premiere of Twin Peaks: The Return in 2017. The showing, subtitled North of Hollywood, West of Hell, runs to 2hr18mins, although whether that’s 1 or 2 episodes is yet to be revealed (the series’ composer, Cliff Martinez, recently stated that each episode runs to around 90 minutes). Nevertheless, it’s an odd but welcome move for the festival still at war with Netflix over their refusal to grant theatrical releases to most of their original films.

Too Old to Die Young

Elsewhere in the line-up (and surprisingly at that),  Abel Ferrara returns to the limelight after 2014’s Pasolini with Tommaso (formerly Siberia, I believe), as well as Herzog revealing his Family Romance, LLC. Both directors were not readily expected at the festival, and both will be big draws for critics and audiences alike. Bruno Dumont, too, returns with the second part of his, erm, controversial, Joan of Arc series, which is sure to prove critically divisive and commercially dismal, as always.

Although it was not announced on Thursday morning, the jury’s still out on whether Once Upon a Time in Hollywood will be added to the roster in time for the festival. Rumours are circulating that editing is taking longer than expected, but that Tarantino is clamouring to get the film in for a May 21st slot (the anniversary of Pulp Fiction). We’ll just have to wait and see.


Likewise, the conspicuous absence of Pablo Larrain’s Ema and Robert Eggers’ The Lighthouse suggest that both may be found in the Director’s Fortnight lineup, although they were tipped to be playing in competition. Hopes are up, too, for Ari Aster’s Midsommar to make a starry splash in a later announcement, although Hirokazu Kore-eda’s absence has been put down to the fact that his film was simply not ready to be submitted (likewise with Ad Astra, and Against All Enemies which, despite frequent reports of delayed post-production, were still snapped up by news outlets as likely premieres).

From all that, it certainly looks like Cannes will have a stronger lineup in 2019 than last year, where nothing really stood out as startlingly great In Competition. There are still many announcements to go, but this year’s festival is off to an incredible start.

London Student will be reporting from the 72nd edition of the Festival de Cannes, from May 14th until May 23rd.

The full list of announced films can be found here:

James is a postgraduate law student at LSE, and London Student's Chief Arts Editor/Film Editor. He wants you to know that Christopher Nolan is overrated.

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