Cannes Film Festival 2019 Kicks Off

Paris, Bill Murray, Adam Driver, and Selena

Gomez walked the red carpet outside the Palais des Festivals to kick

off the Cannes Film Festival with the splashy premiere of Jim

Jarmusch’s The Dead Don’t Die.

They weren’t the only big names parading past a firing line of

photographers and fans. Javier Bardem shook his hips before waving

to the crowd, Elle Fanning, and Tilda Swinton. It was an intoxicating

mixture of glamour and cinephilia, a signature cocktail that has made

the seaside gathering perhaps the most famous gathering of film stars

and auteurs in the world.

The display of star power comes as the festival is trying to

navigate a changing media landscape, one in which the festival’s

reverence for the primacy of the theatrical experience threatens to

seem retrograde. Once again, Cannes’ leadership has barred Netflix

from screening its films in competition. French exhibitors don’t want to

highlight movies from the company because Netflix refuses to adhere

to a mandated 36-month window between a film’s theatrical release

and its premiere on streaming services.

During an opening night presentation, host A�douard Baer

appeared to take a swipe at Netflix, stating that contrary to the

streaming revolution currently unfolding, cinema is theater. In his

remarks, jury president Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, the Oscar-winning

director of The Revenant and Birdman, praised the liberating power

of cinema, adding, stories and ideas can change lives. This

communal experience is beautiful.

Inside the Palais, the festival stage was adorned with an empty

director’s chair emblazoned with the name A. Varda. It was a tribute to

Agnes Varda, the Belgian-born French film director behind Cleo from 5

to 7, who died in March at the age of 90. Varda, considered a giant in

the New Wave, is the subject of the festival’s poster this year. The

image shows her balancing precariously on the shoulders of an

assistant as she stares into a camera, willing to do almost anything to

get the perfect shot.

Though The Dead Don’t Die hails from the Comcast-owned

Focus Features, U.S. studios and media companies often struggle to

justify the enormous costs associated with bringing A-list talent across

the Atlantic. The fact that the festival unfolds in May, several months

removed from the heart of the fall awards season, also makes it a less

attractive launching pad for many Oscars contenders.

And yet some companies find the allure of Cannes, unfolding as

it does alongside the azure waters of the Mediterranean, irresistible.

Paramount is bringing Elton John and Taron Egerton to unveil

Rocketman, a look at the life of the Candle in the Wind singer, and

Sony will debut Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,

a-re imagined look at Tinseltown history that stars Brad Pitt and

Leonardo DiCaprio.

This year’s Cannes also promises to once again shine a

spotlight on new works from foreign directors. Pedro Almodovar is

returning with his semi-autobiographical Pain and Glory, Belgian

brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne are on hand with The Young

Ahmed, and French director Arnaud Desplechin, who opened the

festival two years ago with the tepidly reviewed Ismael’s Ghosts, is

back with Oh Mercy!

Source: Oman News Agency

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