A quarter of century after Pulp Fiction won the Canne’s top prize, the Palme d’Or, Quentin Taratino is again showcasing the film with the most media attention. In this case it is the already controversial Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, a historical film centred around the Manson murders and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie and many more.
This is a different era from then, not least now this being the second Cannes film festival since former festival stalwart Harvey Weinstein’s reputation so spectacularly collapsed. The controversies that remain feel banal by comparison. The mandatory heels for women on the red carpet rule has been relaxed and a lack of Netflix films seemingly on principle is the most controversial talking point. Oddly enough, two episodes of Nicholas Winding Refn’s upcoming Amazon Prime series Too Old To Die Young will get a gala screening in 2019, adding further to the inconsistency over Cannes position on streaming services.
As well as Tarantino the festival is stuffed with the works of banner name directors. Jim Jarmusch’s The Dead Don’t Die, a zombie film starring Adam Driver and Bill Murray, opens the festival Tuesday night.
Also in the official selection we have Sorry We Missed You by 2016 Palme d’Or winner Ken Loach, Pain and Glory by Pedro Almodovar, and A Hidden Life by Terrence Malick. Outside of the more established (male) names is Jessica Hausner’s Little Joe, a British-Austrian drama starring Emily Beecham and Ben Whishaw.
As ever there are hugely interesting films screening outside of official competition. Eagerly anticipated following Senna and Amy is Asif Kepadia’s Diego Maradona. Elton John biopic Rocketman also has numerous screenings at the festival. Abel Ferrera, best known for 1992’s Bad Lieutenant, also has screenings of his upcoming film Tommaso.
In the retrospective side there is special screenings of The Shining and Easy Rider. In memory of the late John Singleton, Boyz In The Hood will be playing in screenings on the Cannes beach.
This is a festival that has courted opulence, heightened controversy, abuses of power and a fastidious sense of its own self-importance. Time will tell if any of its past sins are going to come back from the dead once more.