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The world's most prestigious film festival announces its lineup of films from big-name directors as well as women filmmakers

By Say Peng  /  23 Apr 2019 (Tuesday)

Once again, it's that time of the year for cinephiles.

I'm talking about the Cannes Film Festival, the world's most prestigious film festival, which has recently announced its 2019 lineup of films.

As expected, there are films by the world's top directors working today.

The festival will open with 'The Dead Don't Die', Jim Jarmusch's ensemble zombie comedy, starring Adam Driver, Bill Murray, Chloë Sevigny, and Tilda Swinton.

You can also look forward to the latest offerings from Korean director Bong Joon-ho ('The Host'); two-time Palme d'Or winners, British director Ken Loach and Belgium directing duo, the Dardenne Brothers; Palme d'Or and Golden Bear winner, American director Terrence Malick; Golden Bear winner Diao Yinan; Romanian director Corneliu Porumboiu, who has won multiple awards at Cannes; and Cannes regular, French-Canadian director Xavier Dolan.

Credit: Reiner Bajo

One of the hottest titles cinephiles are eagerly waiting to lay their eyes on is Malick's World War 2 drama 'A Hidden Life', formerly titled 'Radegund'.

Starring August Diehl​ ('Inglourious Basterds') as the lead character, the conscientious objector Franz Jägerstätter, the film follows him as 

Malick's new film since 2017's 'Song to Song' and eight years after he won the Palme d'Or at Cannes for 'The Tree of Life', 'A Hidden Life' will see the experimental director, who often works without a script and improvises performances, returned to a more narrative-driven mode of storytelling. During a Q&A of his documentary 'Voyage of Time', Malick said that his latest film was shot from "a script that was very well ordered."

Another film that I'm personally excited about and looking forward to is Bong Joon-ho's.

This is Bong's third time in Cannes and second time in Official Competition ('Okja' was his first), and his new film is family drama 'Parasite', starring Bong's regular actor Song Kang-Ho as well as Choi Woo-shik ('Okja', 'Train to Busan') and Lee Sun-kyun ('Take Point').

The film follows Ki-taek (Song) and his unemployed family, who takes a peculiar interest in the Park family in order to make ends' meet, leading them to get entangled in an unexpected incident.

In a recent interview with Variety, Bong confessed that his film was "not very likely to win the competition in Cannes, because there are many films by great directors." But Bong felt that “the actors have a higher chance of winning something.”

Whether you agree or disagree with Bong about his Cannes chances, we are confident that the director of 'Memories of Murder' and 'The Host' has made a film that will keep us at the edges of our seat and, unlike the Netflix-backed 'Okja', we can get the chance to watch it on the big screen.

The festival also boasts one of the highest number of films from women filmmakers in Official Competition - French-Senegalese director Mati Diop's 'Atlantique', Austrian director Jessica Hausner's 'Little Joe', French director Justine Triet's 'Sibyl', and French director Céline Sciamma's 'Portrait of a Lady on Fire'.

Diop is the first female black filmmaker to ever be in Cannes' Official Competition. It's also the first time that Sciamma, Triet, and Hausner have broken into Official Competition. 

Sciamma's previous film 'Girlhood' was in Cannes' Director's Fortnight while Triet's previous film 'In Bed with Victoria' was in Cannes' International Critics Week. Hausner's previous film 'Amour Fou' was in Un Certain Regard.

This comes after last year's march of solidarity of 82 stars and executives, led by then Jury President Cate Blanchett and the recently late French director Agnes Varda.

In their joint statement, they said "Women are not a minority in the world, yet the current state of our industry says otherwise. As women, we all face our own unique challenges, but we stand together on these stairs today as a symbol of our determination and commitment to progress. We are writers, producers, directors, actresses, cinematographers, talent agents, editors, distributors, sales agents and all involved in the cinematic arts. We stand in solidarity with women of all industries."

It seems that Cannes is finally taking heed.

Here's the full list of films in Official Competition.
Pain & Glory, dir: Pedro Almódovar
Parasite, dir: Bong Joon-ho
The Wild Goose Lake, dir: Diao Yinan
The Traitor, dir: Marco Bellocchio
Young Ahmed, dirs: Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne
Matthias And Maxime, dir: Xavier Dolan
Oh Mercy, dir: Arnaud Desplechin
A Hidden Life, dir: Terrence Malick
Sorry We Missed You, dir: Ken Loach
Little Joe, dir: Jessica Hausner
Portrait Of A Lady On Fire, dir: Céline Sciamma
Atlantique, dir: Mati Diop
Sibyl, dir: Justine Triet
It Must Be Heaven, dir: Elia Suleiman
Frankie, dir: Ira Sachs
Bacurau, dirs: Kleber Mendonça Filho & Juliano Dornelles
The Whistlers, dir: Corneliu Porumboiu
Les Misérables, dir: Ladj Ly
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