Cannes 2019: Jim Jarmusch's The Dead Don't Die, A Hidden Life in running for top award

Cannes Film Festival 2019 will take place from 14 May to 25 May.

Agence France-Presse April 19, 2019 09:34:23 IST
Cannes 2019: Jim Jarmusch's The Dead Don't Die, A Hidden Life in running for top award

From a zombie flick starring Iggy Pop to a tale of Chinese gangsters who decide to form a union, these are the films vying for the top prize at the Cannes film festival next month:

The Dead Don’t Die

Cannes 2019 Jim Jarmuschs The Dead Dont Die A Hidden Life in running for top award

Adam Driver in a still from The Dead Don't Die. Screenshot from Twitter

Jim Jarmusch’s zombie comedy will open the festival on May 14 with a starry cast that includes Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Tilda Swinton, Iggy Pop and Tom Waits. The indie American icon, who made his name with Down by Law and Mystery Train in the 1980s, scored a low-key hit with last film Paterson– also starring Driver– which also premiered at Cannes.

Sorry We Missed You

Having won the Palme d’Or two years ago with I, Daniel Blake, which showed the devastation caused by austerity in Britain, veteran director Ken Loach is back with an indictment of the gig economy. Written by his long-time collaborator Paul Laverty, it is the story of another Newcastle family battling debt since the 2008 financial crisis. They hope to turn a corner when the father becomes a self-employed delivery driver, but the e-economy is not all it seems.

A Hidden Life

Two decades after The Thin Red Line, American master Terrence Malick returns to World War II with a haunting story of a German conscientious objector guillotined by the Nazis in 1943. It also includes the final screen performance of the late actors Michael Nyqvist and Bruno Ganz of Downfall and Wings of Desire fame. It is the first time Malick has premiered a film at Cannes since he won the Palme d’Or with The Tree of Life in 2011.


Korean master Bong Joon-ho of Okja and Snowpiercer fame is another Cannes regular, famous for his dark gripping genre-bending creations. This time he tells a tragicomic tale of a poor family’s obsession with a rich one after their son gets a job as a tutor to the daughter of a wealthy industrialist. The tale has echoes of another South Korean movie, Burning, which became an arthouse hit last year after showing at Cannes. With Bong regular Song Kang-ho (The Host and Snowpiecer) in the lead, it also stars Choi Woo-shik of the cult horror hit Train to Busan.

Matthias & Maxime

French Canadian wunderkind Xavier Dolan wrote, directed and plays the lead in his latest drama about a group of late twentysomethings in his native Quebec. Of late, the prolific young auteur –who made an impact with Mommy and I Killed My Mother – has divided critical opinion. Cannes will be hoping this is a return to form.

The Traitor

A biopic of Tommaso Buscetta, the first high-ranking member of Cosa Nostra to break the Sicilian Mafia’s oath of silence, it stars Brazilian actress and model Maria Fernanda Candido as his third wife, who convinces him to spill the beans to US prosectors. Veteran Italian auteur Marco Bellocchio shot the film in Sicily, Rome, London and Rio de Janeiro.

Young Ahmed

Three times Palme d’Or winners Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne return to the scene of their greatest triumphs with Young Ahmed, the story of a teenager who embraces Islamic extremism. The Belgian brothers’ gritty slices of working-class life are always set in their native French-speaking Wallonia, an area that served as the base for the terrorist cell responsible for the November 2015 Paris attacks.

Pain & Glory

Cannes usually only shows world premieres, but the festival has made an exception for its former jury head Pedro Almodovar’s most personal film. Released in Spain and Mexico last month to almost universal acclaim, it is a psychodrama with a film director looking back on his life as his past catches up with him. With Almodovar stalwarts Antonio Banderas and Nora Navas leading the cast alongside Penelope Cruz, it’s no wonder this is the most viewed Spanish film of the year so far.


Having wowed Cannes in 2016 with Aquarius, in which the amazing Sonia Braga shone, Brazilian director Kleber Mendonca Filho is back with what has been described as a “sinister genre piece” again starring Braga in a western set in the country’s vast interior.

Portrait of a Young Woman on Fire

Celine Sciamma, who won rave reviews for Girlhood, her 2014 tale of young black girls growing up in the gritty French suburbs, returns with the story of a painter commissioned to do the portrait of a young woman in the 18th century. The film stars Adele Haenel, one of France’s most sought-after young actresses.

The Wild Goose Lake

The sole Chinese contender is Diao Yinan, who won the top prize at the Berlin film festival in 2014 for another crime story, Black Coal, Thin Ice. This time round it’s a caper about gangsters who form a union.

Roubaix, a Light

Arnaud Desplechin, the whimsical director of the 2004 film Kings & Queens, explores his native northern French town of Roubaix in his latest feature starring Roschdy Zem, Lea Seydoux and Sara Forestier.

Little Joe

Austrian-born director Jessica Hausner delves into the near future in a film about genetic modification featuring rising British star Ben Whishaw and Emily Beecham.

Les Miserables

French actor-director Ladj Ly, who grew up filming his high-rise Paris suburb, makes his Cannes debut with his first feature film set in the deprived neighbourhood where the 2005 Paris riots kicked off.

It Must Be Heaven

Palestinian director Elia Suleiman, who was nominated for the Palme d’Or in 2002 with Divine Intervention about a love affair across the Israeli-Palestinian divide, travels to Paris, New York and other cities for a film about wandering and exile.


Sibyl by Justine Triet depicts a burnt-out psychotherapist who ditches most of her patients to return to her first love of writing but is short on inspiration until agreeing to counsel a distressed young actress played by Adele Exarchopoulos of the Cannes-winning 2013 lesbian drama Blue is the Warmest Colour.


US director Ira Sachs, of Little Men and Love is Strange fame casts Isabelle Huppert, Brendan Gleeson and Marisa Tomei in a film about three generations coming to terms with a major event during a holiday in Portugal.

The Whistlers

Romanian new wave director Corneliu Porumboiu brings a noirish crime story replete with treason and a femme fatale to the Croisette.


The feature debut of Mati Diop, a young actress-director born in France to Senegalese parents, was shot in Senegal.

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