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This year's Netflix-free Cannes lineup is part killer, part filler

Image: Festival De Cannes Design: © Flore Maquin / Photo: Pierrot le fou © Georges Pierre

Cannes, the world’s most prestigious film festival, announced its selections earlier today, including the Official Competition (which competes for the top prize, the Palme d’Or), the Un Certain Regard undercard, and a handful of special, midnight, and out-of-competition screenings.

The Official Competition lineup has its share of exciting titles: Spike Lee’s Jason Blum and Jordan Peele-produced Blackkklansman (formerly Black Klansman), based on the strange-but-true story of a black police officer who successfully posed as a white supremacist in the 1970s; Le Livre D’Image, the latest from the gnomic Franco-Swiss film icon Jean-Luc Godard, whose classic Pierrot Le Fou is featured on this year’s festival poster; Burning, the first film by the great South Korean writer-director Lee Chang-dong since Poetry; David Robert Mitchell’s It Follows follow-up Under The Silver Lake; new movies from Jia Zhangke, Jafar Panahi, Hirokazu Koreeda, Alice Rohrwacher, Matteo Garrone, Ida director Pawel Pawlikowski, and the embattled Russian theater director Kirill Serebrennikov. Asghar Farhadi’s Spanish-language Everybody Knows will be the opening night film.


But if any Cannes slate is bound to be read for its omissions, this is it. The festival—which at this point is as well-known for its internal politics as for its glamour, and is no stranger to picking fights—is currently in the middle of a public feud with the streaming giant Netflix, which had a looming presence in last year’s lineup. A number of presumed competition entries are conspicuously absent (not to mention the long-awaited, Netflix-financed restoration of Orson Welles’ The Other Side Of The Wind), and the Un Certain Regard slate, which usually includes a few world-cinema notables, is packed with unknowns. (The biggest name is the twenty-something Chinese director Bi Gan, who will be premiering his follow-up to Kaili Blues.)

To a cynical Cannes-watcher, it looks an awful lot like some movies may have been promoted into Official Competition at the last minute. But only time—and the announcement of the lineup for Director’s Fortnight, a parallel festival that sometimes serves as a home for official selection refugees and pariahs—will tell. While Cannes is known to add competition titles at the last moment, the current absentee list is long, as the likes of Mike Leigh, Terrence Malick, Olivier Assayas, Mia Hansen-Løve, Lars Von Trier, Harmony Korine, Brian De Palma, Luca Guadagnino, and Paolo Sorrentino are all known to have wrapped their latest films.

The missing title that seems to be on everyone’s lips is Claire Denis’ English-language sci-fi film High Life, long presumed as a contender for the Official Competition. But then again, Denis, one of France’s preeminent film artists, hasn’t had a movie compete for Palme d’Or since her debut, Chocolat, way back in 1988.

The Cannes Film Festival will be held May 9-19. The A.V. Club will, as always, be there.


Opening Night

Everybody Knows (Asghar Farhadi)

Official Competition

Asako I & II (Ryusuke Hamaguchi)

Ash Is Pure White (Jia Zhangke)

At War (Stéphane Brizé)

Blackkklansman (Spike Lee)

Burning (Lee Chang-dong)

Capernaum (Nadine Labaki)

Cold War (Pawel Pawilowski)

Dogman (Matteo Garrone)

Girls Of The Sun (Eva Husson)

Lazzaro Felice (Alice Rohrwacher)

Le Livre D’Image (Jean-Luc Godard)

Shoplifters (Hirokazu Koreeda)

Sorry Angel (Christophe Honoré)

Summer (Kirill Serebrennikov)

Three Faces (Jafar Panahi)

Under The Silver Lake (David Robert Mitchell)

Yomeddine (A.B. Shawky)

Un Certain Regard

Angel Face (Vanessa Filho)

Border (Ali Abbasi)

El Angel (Luis Ortega)

Euphoria (Valeria Golino)

The Gentle Indifference Of The World (Adilkhan Yerzhanov)

Girl (Lukas Dhont)

The Harvesters (Etienne Kallos)

In My Room (Ulrich Köhler)

Little Tickles (Andréa Bescond, Eric Metayer)

Long Day’s Journey In Night (Bi Gan)

Manto (Nandita Das)

My Favorite Fabric (Gaya Jiji)

Rafiki (Wanuri Kahiu)

Sextape (Antoine Desrosières)

Sofia (Meryem Benm’barek)

Out Of Competition

Le Grand Bain (Gilles Lellouche)

Solo: A Star Wars Story (Ron Howard)

Midnight Screenings

Arctic (Joe Penna)

The Spy Gone North (Yoon Jong-bin)

Special Screenings

10 Years In Thailand (Aditya Assarat, Wisit Sasanatieng, Chulayarnon Sriphol, Apichatpong Weerashetakul)


Dead Souls (Wang Bing)

The Great Mystical Circus (Carlos Diegues)

La Traversée (Romain Goupil)

Pope Francis: A Man Of His Word (Wim Wenders)

The State Against Mandela And Others (Nicolas Champeaux, Gille Porte)

To The Four Winds (Michel Toesca)


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