The Cannes Film Festival Line-up Is Out and Great (And Includes—Gasp!—TV)


The line-up for this year’s Cannes Film Festival is out, and it is, as usual, an enviable array of new works from some of cinema’s most exuberant and unpredictable filmmakers. But the old standby is also acknowledging new innovations, with a slate featuring not only streaming features, but two prestige television efforts.

The big titles were fairly easy to predict, based on filmmakers that the fest has favored in the past, and the release dates of their new works. Sofia Coppola’s remake of The Beguiled will play in competition. That film’s co-stars, Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman, also appear in the competition title The Killing of a Sacred Dear, from The Lobster director Yorgos Lanthimos. (Kidman’s in a total of four Cannes titles.) Arnaud Desplechin’s Ismael’s Ghosts, starring Marion Cotillard and Charlotte Gainsbourg, will open the festival. Josh and Bennie Safdie’s Good Time (starring Robert Pattinson), François Ozon’s L’Amant Double, two-time Palme d’Or winner Michael Haneke’s Happy End (I’LL BET THAT TITLE WILL PROVE IRONIC), the late Abbas Kiarostami’s 24 Frames, John Cameron Mitchell’s How to Talk to Girls at Parties, Claude Lanzmann’s Napalm, Kristen Stewart’s short film Come Swim, and The Artist director Michel Hazanavicius’s Jean-Luc Godard biopic Redoutable are among the other stand-outs.

And though Cannes is fancy and European and steeped in history and all that, even it can’t escape the shock waves that streaming services are making on the festival circuit. Two Netflix originals will play in competition this year: Bong Joon-Ho’s Okja (featuring his Snowpiercer co-star Tilda Swinton), and their newly-acquired The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected), from writer/director Noah Baumbach, starring Ben Stiller, Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson, and Adam Sandler. Meanwhile, Todd Haynes’s adaptation of Brian Selznick’s Wonderstruck and Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here (with Joaquin Phoenix), both funded by Amazon, will play in competition as well.

Television series and events have slowly crept into film festival environs over the past few years – with mixed results – but Cannes was always a holdout. That’s changing this year, though it’s easy to understand why: these aren’t just any TV shows, but TV shows by festival faves David Lynch (whose Wild at Heart won the Palme d’Or in 1990) and Jane Campion (whose The Piano split the prize with Farewell My Concubine three years later). So the first two episodes of Lynch’s Twin Peaks revival will screen as a special event, along with the entire seven-episode second season of Campion’s Top of the Lake: China Girl.

Absent from the festival’s line-up thus far (and there are still titles to announced, in the Director’s Fortnight and Critic’s Week sidebars) are any Hollywood studio titles. The festival often picks a big (and frequently dumb) summer production for an opening night or out-of-competition slot (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith were among the least of this tradition). So we’ve got The Hollywood Reporter whining, “Where are the Hollywood Blockbusters?” – as if you can’t see one literally anywhere else – and speculating, “there are still some spots left to be filled. Could there be space for a Baywatch, a Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales or an Alien: Covenant in there?” I mean, can you imagine actively hoping for that?

Cannes runs May 17-28.