Jarmusch and zombies to open Cannes

First feature to be announced in Palme d’Or race

by Richard Mowe

Cannes opener: Bill Murray and Adam Driver in Jim Jarmusch’s The Dead Don’t Die
Cannes opener: Bill Murray and Adam Driver in Jim Jarmusch’s The Dead Don’t Die Photo: Focus Features

A star-spangled zombie movie directed by Jim Jarmusch and starring Bill Murray, Chloë Sevigny, Adam Driver and Tilda Swinton will open the 72nd Cannes Film Festival in Competition on 14 May.

The Festival organisers suggest that The Dead Don’t Die (Jarmusch’s 13th feature) “stands as not just a humorous and sometimes scary subversion of the genre (with a nod to George Romero’s seminal film, Night Of The Living Dead) but also a tribute to cinema itself.”

The French poster for The Dead Don’t Die
The French poster for The Dead Don’t Die

The narrative unfolds in the peaceful town of Centerville, which suddenly finds itself under attack by zombies. Murray, Driver and Sevigny play the small-town sheriff’s deputies battling the reincarnated corpses breaking out from their graves. Jarmusch also wrote the script for the film which will compete for the Palme d’Or, the festival’s top prize.

The film opens in France on the same day as its Cannes screening, with Focus releasing it in the States a month later. The cast also features Selena Gomez, Steve Buscemi, Rosie Perez, Danny Glover, Iggy Pop, Tom Waits, and Caleb Landry Jones.

Jarmusch has been a Cannes regular over the years - his Stranger Than Paradise won the Camera d’Or in 1984. He has been in competition on the Croisette several times, including with his last feature film, Paterson, Broken Flowers, which won the Grand Prix in 2005, Only Lovers Left Alive, Ghost Dog: The Way Of The Samurai, Dead Man, Mystery Train and Down By Law. His history with the Festival even includes his short film Coffee And Cigarettes: Somewhere in California which won the Short Film Palme d’Or in 1993 as well as Gimme Danger, the music documentary on Iggy and the Stooges shown as part of the Midnight Screenings in 2016.

The Focus Features production produced by Joshua Astrachan and Carter Logan,will be distributed by Focus Features and Universal Pictures International around the world – alongside Longride in Japan.

The Festival’s official selection line-up as noted previously will be unveiled April 18.

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