Here is Chaz Ebert's first video dispatch from the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, followed by a transcript of the video ...
Don’t look now, but the 2019 Cannes Film Festival is ready to return….from the dead.
This year’s opening night film is “The Dead Don’t Die” from director Jim Jarmusch and it has an all-star cast that is sure to thrill watchers of the famous red carpet.
This zombie comedy is also in competition for the festival’s top prize - the Palme d’Or.
Last year there were three women directors whose films were in competition. This year there are four. Among the four female directors`, Mati Diop - the first black female director ever in competition, brings her first feature film “Atlantique” set in the suburbs of Dakar, Senegal....
...Austrian director Jessica Hausner presents “Little Joe”, a science-fiction/horror film in competition starring Ben Whishaw and Emily Beecham...French director Justine Triet showcases her film "Sybil" and Celine Sciamma who's 2014 film Girlhood played at EbertFest, comes to Cannes with her latest - Portrait of a Lady on Fire.
Cannes does a great job every year of not only showcasing the cutting edge in new cinema, but also in honoring the past.
This year’s poster is a tribute to one of the great directors of all time, who just recently passed away
winner of an honorary Palme d’Or in 2015, Agnes Varda. The image depicts her setting up a shot as she gets a boost from one of her crew. It’s a beautiful poster and a beautiful tribute to a wonderful artist.
The jury who will be passing judgment on the competition films has it’s own star-studded lineup.
In addition to jury president, director Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu, the jury also has 6 other directors on it’s panel including Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski, last year’s Best Director winner in Cannes for Cold War…
Last year’s best screenplay winner in Cannes for Happy as Lazzaro, Italian director Alice Rohrwacher….
Greek director, Yorgos Lanthimos, director of The Favorite - nominated for Best Picture and Best Director Oscars last year…
Robin Campillo, French writer/director of 120 Beats Per Minute, winner of the Jury Prize in 2017…French author and director Enki Bilal, and American Director Kelly Reichardt - last in Cannes in 2008 with Wendy and Lucy. Rounding out the jury are two esteemed actresses - Maimouna N’Diaye, from Burkina Faso and American actress Elle Fanning.
Of course, most of the buzz each year centers around the new films that debut in Cannes. Netflix will again be absent in competition this year due to disputes about theatrical screenings of their films, but there are still plenty of interesting films awaiting us.
Not the least of which is Terrence Malick’s latest period piece “A Hidden Life”. I get very emotional about the appearance of this famously reclusive director because his work touches me deeply at the intersection of humanity and mysticism. His films put me in a state of reverie, and made me think, then feel, and afterwards I want to go out and be a better person. I hope he makes an appearance.
Many Cannes regulars have films in competition this year including the Dardenne Brothers with “The Young Ahmed”, Ken Loach with “Sorry We Missed You”, Pedro Almodovar’s “Pain & Glory” starring Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz, Xavier Dolan’s “Matthias and Maxime” and Korean director Joon-Ho Bong is back in Cannes with the thriller “Parasite”.
And one of the most anticipated films this year was barely completed in time to make the official competition slate: Quentin Tarratino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” .
Dexter Fletcher’s highly anticipated biopic about Elton John, “Rocketman” will screen out of competition along with two episodes from Nicholas Winding Refn’s limited Amazon series, “Too Old to Die Young”
But of course, that is not nearly all we have to look forward to. Throughout the festival, be sure to check in at RogerEbert.com/Cannes for daily reports by Barbara Scharres, Ben Kenigsberg and others along with our regular video reports. Until then, we’ll see you on the red carpet!