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Cannes announces 2019 line-up, and Netflix is absent once more

There are 13 female filmmakers in the lineup so far, while the world's largest streaming service remains bowed out

Spanish director Pedro Almodovar will debut a film at Cannes, but his contemporary Martin Scorsese who has a film coming out on Netflix this year, will not make an appearance. Photo: AFP 
Spanish director Pedro Almodovar will debut a film at Cannes, but his contemporary Martin Scorsese who has a film coming out on Netflix this year, will not make an appearance. Photo: AFP 

Netflix’s semi-enforced absence from Cannes will continue for a second year, it was revealed as festival artistic director Thierry Fremaux and president Pierre Lescure revealed the initial line up for this year’s event. Some of the most hotly tipped titles of this year’s festival season will be sidestepping the Croisette for a second consecutive year just because they're on Netflix, following in the footsteps of last year’s multi-Oscar winning Roma.

Martin Scorsese's mob epic The Irishman, starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci; Steven Soderbergh's The Laundromat with Oscar winners Meryl Streep and Gary Oldman; and Noah Baumbach’s Henry V drama The King, featuring Timothée Chalamet, all Netflix productions, will be premiering elsewhere, most likely Venice or Toronto later in the year.

How did the Cannes and Netflix beef begin?

The spat began after 2017’s festival, when Cannes welcomed both Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories and Bong Joon Ho's Okja in its competition line-up. French distributors and cinema owners took exception to this as Netflix does not routinely give its films major cinema releases, and Fremaux, who it is believed has no personal issue with Netflix, was pushed to take action.

By way of a compromise, Fremaux announced that for 2018’s festival, Netflix could not enter its films as part of the festival’s “in competition” section, though it can still enter its movies out of competition. Netflix wasn’t happy with this however – the streamer clearly takes awards seriously, having spent an estimated $40m on Roma’s successful Oscars push, and so withdrew from the festival entirely. Roma and fellow Netflix title The Ballad of Buster Scruggs both opened at Venice last year, where Roma took home the Golden Lion while Scruggs picked up the Best Screenplay award.

General Delegate of the Cannes Film Festival Thierry Fremaux gives a press conference to present the 72nd Cannes Film Festival Official Selection, on April 18, 2019 in Paris. / AFP / Bertrand GUAY
General Delegate of the Cannes Film Festival Thierry Fremaux at Thursday's press conference. Photo: AP

It’s hard to see how the two sides can reach a compromise: the French exhibitors are demanding a full cinema release and a three-year window before Netflix moves its films to streaming after theatre release, which Netflix will never accept. Netflix, meanwhile, clearly wants to be in competition, which it’s hard to see the exhibitors accepting.

Netflix reportedly declined to offer any films for submission this year, so for the time being, it looks like Cannes’ loss could be Venice’s gain.

So, if no Netflix, what will be at Cannes?

While Cannes may be bereft of Netflix movies this year, there are still plenty of films to anticipate at the festival. Of particular local interest, 2002’s Grand Jury Prize winner, Palestinian director Elia Suleiman, returns to Cannes with It Must Be Heaven, which draws parallels between global cities and Palestine, and will screen in competition.

epa07513446 (FILE) - Palestinian director Elia Suleiman, attends the photocall for the film 'The Time that Remains' in the 62nd edition of the Cannes film festival in Cannes, France, 22 May 2009. (reissued 18 April 2019) His movie 'It Must be Heaven' will be presented in the official selection at the 72nd annual Cannes Film Festival, it was announced on 18 April 2019. EPA/GUILLAUME HORCAJUELO *** Local Caption *** 54258848
Palestinian director Elia Suleiman. Photo: EPA

Mounia Meddour’s Algerian civil war drama Papicha will screen in the Un Certain Regard section.

Also among the initial slate of competition titles announced were Pedro Almodovar's Pain and Glory, The Traitor from Marco Bellocchio and Parasite from Bong Joon-ho. Fremaux said that Quentin Tarantino's new film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which was expected to debut at the festival, is not ready yet but could still be added to the line-up as long as it is finished in time, with many more more films due to be added to the programme between now and May.

There are 13 female filmmakers featured in the lineup so far, Fremaux highlighted. And, as he usually does, he said the festival would add some more films in the near future.

Jim Jarmusch's zombie comedy The Dead Don't Die, also in competition and featuring a star-studded cast including Bill Murray, Chloe Sevigny, Tilda Swinton, Adam Driver, Iggy Pop, Tom Waits and Selena Gomez will open this year’s festival, while five-time Oscar-winning Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu will lead the main competition jury for the Palme d'Or.

Lebanese director Nadine Labaki, whose Capernaum was nominated in the best foreign-language film category at the Academy Awards this year, will head up the Un Certain Regard jury.

Among the highlights of the out of competition selection is Dexter Fletcher’s Elton John biopic Rocketman. The director will finally get his name on a big ticket music biopic following his uncredited work on Bohemian Rhapsody, which he completed after the original director, Brian Singer was sacked after a series of controversies.

See the full Cannes line-up so far below:


Pain and Glory, Pedro Almodovar

The Traitor, Marco Bellocchio

Wild Goose Lake, Yinan Diao

Parasite, Bong Joon-ho

Young Ahmed, The Dardenne Brothers

Oh Mercy!, Arnaud Desplechin

Atlantique, Mati Diop

Matthias and Maxime, Xavier Dolan

Little Joe, Jessica Hausner

Sorry We Missed You, Ken Loach

Les Miserables, Ladj Ly

A Hidden Life (previously known as Radegund), Terrence Malik

Nighthawk, Kleber Mendonca Filho, Juliano Dornelles

The Whistlers, Corneliu Porumboiu

Frankie, Ira Sachs

The Dead Don't Die, Jim Jarmusch

Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Celine Sciamma

It Must Be Heaven, Elia Suleiman

Sybil, Justine Triet

epa07513447 (FILE) - French movie director Justine Triet attends a photocall for the movie 'In Bed with Victoria' during the Le Cinema Francais Festival in Moscow, Russia, 12 October 2016. (reissued 18 April 2019) Her movie 'Sibyl' will be presented in the official selection at the 72nd annual Cannes Film Festival, it was announced on 18 April 2019. EPA/YURI KOCHETKOV *** Local Caption *** 54258848
French movie director Justine Triet. Photo: EPA

Out of Competition

Rocketman, Dexter Fletcher

The Best Years of Life, Claude Lelouch

Maradona, Asif Kapadia

La Belle Epoque, Nicolas Bedos

Too Old to Die Young, Nicolas Winding Refn (TV series screening 2 episodes)

Special Screenings

Share, Pippa Bianco

Family Romance LLC, Werner Herzog

Tommaso, Abel Ferrara

To Be Alive and Know It, Alain Cavalier

For Sama, Waad Al Kateab and Edward Watts

Midnight Screenings

The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil, Lee Won-Tae

Un Certain Regard

Invisible Life, Karim Aïnouz

Beanpole, Kantemir Balagov

The Swallows of Kabul, Zabou Breitman & Eléa Gobé Mévellec

A Brother’s Love, Monia Chokri

The Climb, Michael Covino

Joan of Arc, Bruno Dumont

A Sun That Never Sets, Olivier Laxe

Chambre 212, Christophe Honoré

Port Authority, Danielle Lessovitz

Papicha, Mounia Meddour

Adam, Maryam Touzani

Zhuo Ren Mi Mi, Midi Z

Liberte, Albert Serra

Bull, Annie Silverstein

Summer of Changsha, Zu Feng

EVGE, Nariman Aliev

Updated: April 19, 2019 01:25 PM



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