Earlier this week, Bill Murray, Selena Gomez and Adam Driver walked the red carpet outside the Palais des Festivals to kick start the Cannes Film Festival, in France, that will run till Saturday, May 25.
The festival, which marks the beginning of an 11-day unveiling of some of the year’s premier international films, was opened by Jim Jarmusch’s zombie comedy, titled Dead Don’t Die.
Preceding the Dead Don’t Die world premiere, the festival rolled out its opening ceremony program with the help of its master of ceremonies — actor, writer, director and French personality Edouard Baer, who served in the same role last year.
Later a tribute was paid to the late Agnes Varda, who died March 29, via a clip from her 2019 documentary Varda by Agnes.
According to Variety, the festival stage, inside the Palais, was adorned with an empty director’s chair emblazoned with the name ‘A. Varda’.
“It was a tribute to Agnes Varda, the Belgian-born French film director behind Cleo from 5 to 7, who died in March at the age of 90. Varda, considered a giant in the ‘new wave’, is the subject of the festival’s poster this year. The image shows her balancing precariously on the shoulders of an assistant as she stares into a camera, willing to do almost anything to get the perfect shot,” reported Variety.
At the 72nd edition of the festival, Cannes’ leadership once again barred Netflix from screening its films in competition – mainly because the streaming giant refuses to adhere to a mandated 36-month window between a film’s theatrical release and its premiere.
Variety noted, “The host of the night, Edouard Baer appeared to take a swipe at Netflix, stating that contrary to the streaming revolution currently unfolding, ‘cinema is theater’. In his remarks, jury president Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, the Oscar-winning director of The Revenant and Birdman, praised ‘the liberating power of cinema’, adding, ‘stories and ideas can changes lives. This communal experience is beautiful’.”
Moreover, Cannes 2019 promises to once again shine a spotlight on new works from foreign directors. Pedro Almodovar is returning with his semi-autobiographical Pain and Glory, Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne are on hand with The Young Ahmed, and French director Arnaud Desplechin, who opened the festival two years ago with the tepidly reviewed Ismael’s Ghosts, is back with Oh Mercy!
With Cannes being under pressure to highlight more movies from women, this year’s line-up is also notable as it is featuring a record number of female filmmakers. Women directors were responsible for 15 movies in Cannes’ official selection and four competition titles. Paramount is bringing Elton John and Taron Egerton to unveil Rocketman, a look at the life of the ‘Candle in the Wind’ singer, and Sony will debut Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, a re-imagined look at Tinseltown history that stars Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio.
– With information from Variety and The Hollywood Reporter.