7. Bacurau (Kleber Mendonça Filho) – Section: In competition
Small filmmaking countries that don’t carry the baggage of the expectations of the giants are doing well lately in film festival circuits. Brazilian filmmaker Kleber Filho has been quietly delivering excellent films for a long time, with last year’s “Aquarius” as the highlight.
Revolving around the Brazilian and world politics of regular consumerism in a corporate society, “Aquarius” chronicled the journey of the last resident of the Aquarius building who refused to sell the apartment to a construction company. It created a violent outrage in the home country, and the cast and crew resorted to protest against it at Cannes.
However, the Brazilian government showed maturity and selected it for the foreign language Oscar submission from their country as a retaliation effort. It was also nominated for the prestigious Palme d’Or. Kleber is again back in the festival with his film “Bacurau” competing for the highest prize, and the audience can again hope for a profound vision from this small filmmaking country.
6. The Dead Don’t Die (Jim Jarmusch) – Section: In competition, Opening Film
Jim Jarmusch first attempted the horror-zombie genre with “Only Lovers Left Alive” in 2013. It was an intellectual yet stylised quirky take on the life of vampires, and it did well with the critics. This time he is going to screen his sophomore zombie film in the Cannes Film Festival, but the style of the quirk will highly deviate from his first film.
He selected his regular actors as the cast: Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Tilda Swinton, all the deadpan experts. Jarmusch is another Cannes regular with several of his films having been nominated for the Palme d’Or throughout the career. This time, “The Dead Don’t Die” is again competing for the Palme d’Or, and the audience would not be disheartened by the quirks.
5. Parasite (Bong Joon-ho) – Section: In competition
Bong Joon-ho has good memories associated with Cannes. Although only once his film has his work been shown in Cannes, “Okja” received a four-minute standing ovation in 2017. He is a diverse filmmaker and has made films in several genres.
Apart from filming in his native language of Korean, he also made films completely in English. This time he again came back to his roots to release “Parasite” in Cannes, which is filmed in Korean.
4. The Lighthouse (Robert Eggers) – Section: Directors’ Fortnight
We are in a golden age of horror and arguably, the debut film of Robert Eggers “The Witch” is the best horror film of this decade so far. Eggers eschewed all the regular jump scares of the traditional mainstream horror fares and built his debut effort just with a chilling atmosphere and Christian subtext; the result was overwhelming. “The Lighthouse” is the follow-up film to his “The Witch” and it stars Robert Pattinson and William Dafoe.
Lately, Pattinson has been only attached to good projects with last year’s “High Life” and “Good Time,” and he has proven himself to be a competent actor. Dafoe needs no introduction and he is on a winning streak lately with films like “At Eternity’s Gate.”
So, two good actors in form, Jarin Blaschke behind the camera, and black-and-white production with Eggers directing, in a film that has been selected for the Cannes Film Festival. This can’t be mediocre.
3. The Wild Goose Lake (Diao Yinan) – Section: In competition
Lately, the Chinese film industry has become one of the powerhouses of world cinema. Diao Yinan has recently joined the contemporary visionary filmmakers like Hou Hsiao-hsien, Edward Yang, Zhang Yimou, and Jia Zhangke to screen films outside their native country.
He’s had a short career to date, but a pleasant one. Taking a long hiatus of five years after the excellent “Black Coal, Thin Ice,” which won the Golden Bear in the Berlin Film Festival, he will be screening his film “The Wild Goose Lake,” only for the second time in Cannes.
2. A Hidden Life (Terrence Malick) – Section: In competition
If the tag “profound” has to be attached to any filmmaker on this list, it has to be Terrence Malick. After all, he is the man who filmed a World War II film like no other; a film that concentrates most of its running time comparing the ethereal beauty of nature with the atrocity of war.
It is no wonder he is a philosophical filmmaker, as he studied Heidegger and Kierkegaard under the direct supervision of Gilbert Ryle in Oxford. He has created a unique style in his small film career with great importance on aesthetics and cinematography.
But at the same, Malick’s films have a great polarising effect on his audiences. Some demand that his style is hollow and sophomore, while some regard him as one of the finest filmmakers of the current generation and of all time, a living legend. It is a hit-or-miss scenario for the audiences – either you will love it or ignore it in disdain.
While his last effort “Song to Song” received a mixed to poor critical reception, it is a challenge for Malick to be back in form at this year’s Cannes. In reality, he had a loving relationship with Cannes, with his “The Tree of Life” winning the Palme d’Or in 2011. His “A Hidden Life,” which was earlier titled “Radegund,” will deal with the contention of Franz Jägerstätter, who objected to fighting for the Third Reich in World War II.
It will feature the final performances of Michael Nyqvist and Bruno Ganz. This will probably be in a similar terrain of his World War II drama “The Thin Red Line,” but unfortunately spectators will have to wait till May 14.
1. Once Upon a Time In Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino) – Section: In competition
Probably the most anticipated film in the list is “Once Upon a Time In Hollywood.” Everyone is eagerly waiting to witness the magic of Quentin Tarantino on the big screen. Tarantino is never known for the profound quality of his films because there is none, but he is one of the most skillful masters of the craft. He can easily attract both intellectual film buffs and casual filmgoers in the theatres. In the case of this film, the attraction can’t be attributed to a single factor, as there are many. It also marks the return of Leonardo DiCaprio in a Tarantino film after the brilliant “Django Unchained.”
Brad Pitt also stars in this film along with the beautiful and talented Margot Robbie. Tarantino managed to hide most of the major plot points, but it is known that the story would revolve around a television actor and his stunt double in the golden age of Hollywood.
The list of the characters in the film are also exciting to ponder upon: Sharon Tate, the ex-wife of Roman Polanski; Lynette Fromme, a Manson family member; the infamous Charles Manson, Charles Watson, Bruce Lee, etc.
Tarantino once commented that he would only direct 10 feature films in his career. This film is going to be his ninth film and an unofficial final entry to his revisionist history trilogy. Sony Pictures has acquired the distribution rights of the picture, so it will be released worldwide after the Cannes premiere, but can you really wait until the U.S. premiere?