Movies | April 18, 2019 4:56 pm

A Way-Too-Early and Highly Speculative Preview of the 2019 Cannes Film Festival

New films from Terrence Malick and Pedro Almodovar are among this year's competitors

2019 Cannes Film Festival
Pedro Almodovar delivers a speech at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival
Alberto Pizzoli / AFP / Getty

On Thursday Morning, the 2019 Cannes Film Festival announced the majority of this year’s festival participants, including 19 of the 20 films that will compete for the Palme d’Or, the opening night film (Jim Jarmusch’s star-studded zombie romp The Dead Won’t Die) and the president of this year’s jury, The Revenant and Birdman director Alejandro González Iñárritu.

Of note: Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood was absent from the list (though sources say it could be a later, final addition), while four female directors were among the filmmakers included in the competitive category, tying a record for the festival.

Below, we take an entirely too-early and speculative look at some of the potential standouts.

The Dead Won’t Die (Jim Jarmusch)
One of the founding fathers of American indie, Jarmusch will open the festival with a film that looks decidedly more audience-friendly than the oddball comedies he’s known for. The grade-A cast includes Adam Driver, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Steve Buscemi, Chloë Sevigny, Tom Waits, Danny Glover and Rosie Perez — at least some of whom will at some point become the flesh-eating undead who local police officers Driver, Murray and Sevigny are charged with eradicating.

Les Misérables (Ladj Ly)
The trailer above is neither for an adaptation of the Victor Hugo novel or the film showing at Cannes, but rather the short film the latter is based on, which won a César Award (read: French Oscar) in 2018. Centering on the first days of service for a new recruit to a police squad tasked with investigating gang activity in the notoriously rough Parisian banlieues, we’re expecting something like Training Day for Francophiles.

Parasite (Bong Joon-ho)
South Korean Bong is best known for The Host, the monster movie that put him on the map in 2006, though he has since branched out into English-language action films with Snowpiercer (2013) and Okja (2017). Parasite sees him return to his native language for a “family tragicomedy” with some supernatural twists.

A Hidden Life (Studio Babelsberg)
Reiner Bajo

A Hidden Life (Terrence Malick)
After making just four feature films over the first 37 years of his career, enigmatic Texan Terrence Malick has recently been prolific by his standards, having directed an additional four features since 2011. But where those films eschewed scripts and narrative in favor of his uniquely impressionistic style, Malick has stated that he returned to a “a script that was very well ordered” for his ninth film, which profiles an Austrian conscientious objector during WWII. We have high hopes it will rank among his best.

Little Joe (Coop99 Filmproduktion)

Little Joe (Jessica Hausner)
The Austrian’s English-language debut appears to be a slow-burning, atmospheric and exceedingly creepy sci-fi film in the mold of Ex Machina or Under the Skin. Premise: a team of scientists develop a genetically engineered plant that has insidious — if subtle — effects on everyone with whom it comes into contact.

Pain and Glory (Pedro Almodóvar)
The Spanish maestro’s most autobiographical work to date stars Antonio Banderas as an aging filmmaker reflecting on his life and career. Penélope Cruz and Catalonian singer Rosalía also star.