Malick, Almodóvar and Loach head for Cannes

Women to the fore in official selection

by Richard Mowe

Hands up … Thierry Frémaux makes a point at today’s Cannes Film Festival press conference in Paris
Hands up … Thierry Frémaux makes a point at today’s Cannes Film Festival press conference in Paris Photo: Richard Mowe

With a selection committee that reached 50-50 gender parity for the first time this year, the Cannes Film Festival’s artistic director Thierry Frémaux was today able to trumpet that 13 female film-makers had been included in the official selection, most of which was unveiled today (18 April) at a press conference at the UGC cinema on the Champs Elysées in Paris.

Many of the Festival’s big hitters from previous years have returned to the fold with new films by Pedro Almodóvar (Pain And Glory), The Traitor, a Mafia thriller from Marco Bellocchio, Parisite from Bong Joon-ho and Ken Loach (two time Palme d’Or winner) with Sorry We Missed You. Quebec’s enfant terrible Xavier Dolan also returns with Matthias And Maxime in which he also stars; Belgium’s Dardenne Brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc tackle religious fundamentalism in Europe in Ahmed while the elusive Terrence Malick will be present at least on screen if not in person for his Second World War drama A Hidden Life (previously titled Radegund).

Sundance favourite Ira Sachs finds a competition berth for Frankie starring Isabelle Huppert while French director Celine Sciamma fields an 18th century female drive historical drama Portrait Of A Lady On Fire. Justine Triet adds to the female quotient with her new Sibyl while first time Austrian film-maker Jessica Hausner will present an English-language sci-fi offering Little Joe. The other woman in competition is Mati Diop with Atlantique. There are nine female directors featuring in other sections of the official Festival.

Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood with Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, much touted for inclusion, has not yet made the final mix although Frémaux still held out a tantalising hope that it may yet make it among the few titles he has still to confirm.

Out of competition, will be Dexter Fletcher’s keenly anticipated Rocketman, accompanied by Elton John and his entourage. Frémaux assured that a piano would be waiting in the wings should Elton feel the urge to play live.

Other titles in this section include Claude Lelouch’s The Best Years Of A Life (reprising his hit A Man And A Woman 50 years on with the same leads, Jean-Louis Trintignant and Anouk Aimée); Asif Kapadia’s documentary Diego Maradona and two episodes of Nicolas Winding Refn’s upcoming television series Too Old To Die Young: North Of Hollywood, West Of Hell.

As previously noted in these columns, the festival opens with a star studded lineup in Jim Jarmusch's zombie comedy The Dead Don't Die, starring Bill Murray, Chloe Sevigny, Tilda Swinton and Adam Driver.

Five-time Oscar-winning Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu will lead the main competition jury for the films that are in the running for the Palme d'Or while Lebanese director Nadine Labaki, whose Capernaum was nominated in the best foreign-language film category at the Academy Awards this year, will head the jury for Un Certain Regard.


  • The Dead Don’t Die by Jim Jarmusch (Opening Film)

  • Pain And Glory (Dolor Y gloria) by Pedro Almodóvar
  • The Traitor (Il Traditore) by Marco Bellocchio
  • Parasite (Gisaengchung) by Bong Joon Ho
  • Young Ahmed (Le Jeune Ahmed) by Jean-Pierre et Luc Dardenne
  • Nan Fang Chez Han De Ju Hui by Diao Yinan
  • Atlantique by Mati Diop
  • Matthias And Maxime by Xavier Dolan
  • Sorry We Missed You by Ken Loach
  • A Hidden Life by Terrence Malick
  • Nighthawk (Bacurau by Kleber Mendonça Filho, Juliano Dornelles
  • The Whistlers (La Gomera) by Corneliu Porumboiu
  • Frankie by Ira Sachs
  • It Must Be Heaven by Elia Suleiman
  • Oh Mercy! (Roubaix, Une Lumière) by Arnaud Desplechin
  • Little Joe by Jessica Hausner
  • Les Misérables by Ladj Ly
  • Portrait Of A Lady On Fire (Portrait De La Jeune Fille En Feu) by Céline Sciamma
  • Sibyl by Justine Triet

Out of Competition

  • Rocketman by Dexter Fletcher
  • Diego Maradona by Asif Kapadia
  • Too Old To Die Young: North Of Hollywood, West Of Hell by Nicolas Winding Refn (épisodes 4 and 5)
  • The Best Years Of Life (Les Plus Belles Années D'Une Vie) by Claude Lelouch
  • La Belle Epoque by Nicolas Bedos

Midnight Screenings

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

Special Screenings

  • For Sama by Waad Al Kateab, Edward Watts
  • Share by Pippa Bianco
  • Family Romance LLC by Werner Herzog
  • Tommaso by Abel Ferrara
  • Etre Vivant Et Le Savoir by Alain Cavalier
  • Que Sea Ley by Juan Solanas

Un Certain Regard

  • Beanpole (Dylda) by Kantemir Balagov
  • La Femme De Mon Frère by Monia Chokri
  • The Climb by Michael Covino
  • A Sun That Never Sets (O Que Arde) by Oliver Laxe
  • Port Authority by Danielle Lessovitz
  • Papicha by Mounia Meddour
  • Zhuo Ren Mi Mi by Midi Z
  • Bull by Annie Silverstein
  • Adam by Maryam Touzani
  • Liu Yu Tian by Zu Feng
  • Vida invisel by Karim Aïnouz
  • The Swallows of Kabul (Les Hirondelles De Kaboul) by Zabou Breitman and Eléa Gobé Mévellec
  • Jeanne by Bruno Dumont
  • Chambre 212 by Christophe Honoré
  • Liberté by Albert Serra
  • Evge by Nariman Aliev

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