2019 Cannes Film Festival: feature film slate announced

April 18, 2019

UPDATED May 2, 2019, after new films were added to the festival programming.

by Carla Hay

Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” (Photo by Andrew Cooper)

The 72nd annual Cannes Film Festival—set to take place in Cannes, Frances from May 14 to May 25, 2019—has announced its lineup of feature films. As previously reported, the opening-night film is the zombie flick “The Dead Don’t Die,” directed by Jim Jarmusch and starring Adam Driver, Bill Murray, Chloë Sevigny and Steve Buscemi. The most high-profile film at Cannes this year that is not screening in competition is the Elton John biopic “Rocketman,” directed by Dexter Fletcher and starring Taron Egerton as Grammy-winning superstar John. “Rocketman” is screening out of competition, and will premiere at Cannes on May 16. The festival is usually dominated by independent films, and Paramount Pictures’ “Rocketman” is one of the few Cannes movies this year from a major studio. “Rocketman” is due out in U.K. cinemas on March 24, and arrives in U.S. theaters on May 31.

There are 21 movies in competition at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. As expected, they are from several different countries and include a mix of famous and lesser-known directors. The high-profile directors who have films in competition this year are Quentin Tarantino with “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”; Terrence Malick with “A Hidden Life”; Xavier Dolan with “Matthias and Maxime”; Pedro Almodóvar with “Pain and Glory,” also known as “Dolor y Gloria”; Ken Loach with “Sorry We Missed You”; Ira Sachs with “Frankie”; and Bong Joon Ho with “Parasite,” also known as “Gisaengchung.”

Other well-known directors who have movies at Cannes this year include Abel Ferrara with “Tommaso” and Werner Herzog with “Family Romance, LLC.” Both movies are not in competition at Cannes and will have special screenings.

In 2019, Oscar-winning Mexican filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu (“Birdman,” “The Revenant”) is the president of the Cannes grand jury, while Lebanese filmmaker Nadine Labaki is the president of the Un Certain Regard jury. Labaki’s “Capernaum” was in competition at Cannes in 2018, and the movie went on to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.

Diversity and Representation

Mati Diop (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)

There are four female directors with movies in competition at Cannes this year, which an increase from three female directors the previous year. The three female directors are Mati Diop with “Atlantique”; Jessica Hausner with “Little Joe”; Justine Triet with “Sibyl”; and Céline Sciamma with “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” also known as “Portrait de la jeune fille en feu.” The 2019 Cannes Film Festival has a total of 13 female directors with feature films. Diop (who is of French and Senegalese descent) is the first black female director to have a film in competition at Cannes. She is also an actress whose credits include the indie films “Simon Killer,” “Hermia & Helena” “Fort Buchanan” and “L for Leisure.”

There are two black directors with a film in the Cannes competition this year: the aforementioned Diop and Ladj Ly, who brings his remake of “Les Misérables” to Cannes. There was only one black filmmaker (Spike Lee) in competition at Cannes in 2018. Just like last year, there are no directors of Latin-American descent in the Cannes competition this year. Almodóvar is from Spain, and is considered a white European.

The representation numbers went down this year for directors of Asian and Arab/Middle-Eastern descent in competition at Cannes. In 2018, there were four Asian (non-Middle Eastern) directors, compared to two in 2019: Bong Joon Ho with “Parasite,” also known as “Gisaengchung”; and Diao Yinan with “The Wild Goose Lake” also known as “Nan Fang Che Zhan De Ju Hui.” In 2018, there were three directors of from the Middle East in the Cannes competition. In 2019 there is just one: “It Must Be Heaven” director Elia Suleiman, who is a Greek-Palestinian.

The Streaming Service Effect

Miles Teller in “Too Old to Die Young – North of Hollywood, West of Hell” (Photo courtesy of Amazon Prime Video)

For the second year in a row, Netflix is skipping Cannes, due to festival rules that movies allowed in the Cannes Film Festival competitions must be available for theatrical release in France for at least six months before they are released on home video or any streaming service. Netflix was at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival with “Okja” and “The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)” before Cannes enforced this rule. Netflix was reportedly going to world premiere director Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma” at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, but since Netflix is boycotting Cannes for now, “Roma” ended up having its world premiere at the 2018 Venice Film Festival, where it won the top prize (the Golden Lion) , and ended up winning three Oscars.

Netflix might no longer be part of the Cannes Film Festival, but Amazon Prime Video is still participating. Amazon is at the 2019 Cannes Festival with a sneak preview of the episodic series “Too Old to Die Young – North of Hollywood, West of Hell,” a crime drama directed by Nicolas Winding Refn and starring  Miles Teller and Billy Baldwin.

New streaming services Apple+ and Disney+ are launching before the end of 2019, and it remains to be seen if they will submit any of their original content to the Cannes Film Festival. Based on what these streaming services have announced so far, they will both have original series and movies, but the majority of movies on Disney+ content will be Disney-owned movies that were already released in theaters. Therefore, Apple+ is more likely to have original movies that could potentially premiere at film festivals. It will be interesting to see how these new streaming services will affect the film-festival landscape in 2020 and beyond.

Here is the announced lineup of feature films at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival:


Bill Murray, Chloë Sevigny and Adam Driver “The Dead Don’t Die” (Photo by Abbot Genser/Focus Features)

“Atlantique” (Directed by Mati Diop)

“Bacarau” (Directed by Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles)

“The Dead Don’t Die” (Directed by Jim Jarmusch) **OPENING NIGHT FILM**

“Frankie” (Directed by Ira Sachs)

“A Hidden Life” (Directed by Terrence Malick)

“Intermezzo” (Directed by Abdellatif Kechiche)*

“It Must Be Heaven” (Directed by Elia Suleiman)

“Les Misérables” (Directed by Ladj Ly)

“Little Joe” (Directed by Jessica Hausner)

“Matthias and Maxime” (Directed by Xavier Dolan)

“Oh Mercy!” (Directed by Arnaud Desplechin)

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” (Directed by Quentin Tarantino)*

“Pain and Glory” also known as “Dolor y Gloria” (Directed by Pedro Almodóvar)

“Parasite” also known as “Gisaengchung” (Directed by Bong Joon Ho)

“Portrait of a Lady on Fire” also known as “Portrait de la jeune fille en feu” (Directed by Céline Sciamma)

“Sibyl” (Directed by Justine Triet)

“Sorry We Missed You” (Directed by Ken Loach)

“The Traitor” also known as “Il Traditore” (Directed by Marco Bellocchio)

“The Whistlers” also known as “La Gomera” (Directed by Corneliu Porumboiu)

“The Wild Goose Lake” also known as “Nan Fang Che Zhan De Ju Hui” (Directed by Diao Yinan)

“The Young Ahmed” (Directed by Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne)


Leyna Bloom (pictured at right) in “Port Authority” (Photo courtesy of Madeleine Films)

“Adam” (Directed by Maryam Touzani)

“Beanpole” also known as “Dylda” (Directed by Kantemir Balagov)

“A Brother’s Love” (Directed by Monia Chokri)

“Bull” (Directed by Annie Silverstein)

“Chambre 212” also known as “Room 212” (Directed by Christophe Honoré)

“The Climb” (Directed by Michael Covino)

“Evge” (Directed by Nariman Aliev)

“Freedom” also known as “Liberté” (Directed by Albert Serra)

“Invisible Life” also known as “Vida Invisivel” (Directed by Karim Aïnouz)

“Joan of Arc” also known as “Jeanne” (Directed by Bruno Dumont)

“La famosa invasione degli orsi in Sicilia” (Directed by Lorenzo Mattotti)*

“Odnazhdy v Trubchevske” (Directed by Larissa Sadilova)*

“Papicha” (Directed by Mounia Meddour)

“Port Authority” (Directed by Danielle Lessovitz)

“Summer of Changsha” also known as “Liu Yu Tian” (Directed by Zu Feng)

“The Swallows of Kabul” (Directed by Zabou Breitman and Eléa Gobé Mévellec)

“A Sun That Never Sets” also known as “O Que Arde” (Directed by Olivier Laxe)

“Zhuo Ren Mi Mi” (Directed by Midi Z)


Taron Egerton in “Rocketman” (Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures)

“The Best Years of a Life” (Directed by Claude Lelouch)

“Diego Maradona” (Directed by Asif Kapadia)

“La Belle Époque” (Directed by Nicolas Bedos)

“Rocketman” (Directed by Dexter Fletcher)

“Too Old to Die Young – North of Hollywood, West of Hell” (Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn)


“The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil” (Directed by Lee Won-Tae)

“Lux Aeterna” (Directed by Gaspar Noé)*


Waad al-Kateab in “For Sama” (Photo by Waad al-Kateab)

“5B” (Directed by Dan Krauss)*

“Chicuarotes” (Directed by Gael García Bernal)*

“Family Romance, LLC.” (Directed by Werner Herzog)

“For Sama” (Directed by Waad Al Kateab and Edward Watts)

“Ice on Fire” (Directed by Leila Conners)*

“La Cordillera de los sueños” (Patricio Guzmán)*

“Que Sea Ley” (Directed by Juan Solanas)

“Share” (Directed by Pippa Bianco)

“To Be Alive and Know It” also known as “Être vivant et le savoir” (Directed by Alain Cavalier)

“Tommaso” (Directed by Abel Ferrara)

*Addition to lineup announced on May 2, 2019.


“Litigante” (Directed by Franco Lolli)

“Heroes Don’t Die” (Directed by Aude Léa Rapin)

“Tu Mérites Un Amour” (Directed by Hafsia Herzi)

“Dwelling In The Fuchun Mountains” (Directed by Gu Xiaogang)


“Alice and the Mayor” (Directed by Nicolas Pariser)

“And Then We Danced” (Directed by Levan Akin)

“The Halt” (Directed by Lav Diaz)

“Song Without a Name” (Directed by Melina León)

“Deerskin” (Directed by Quentin Dupieux)

“Ghost Tropic” (Directed by Bas Devos)

“Give Me Liberty” (Directed by Kirill Mikhanovsky)

“First Love” (Directed by Takashi Miike)

“To Live to Sing” (Directed by Johnny Ma)

“Dogs Don’t Wear Pants” (Directed by Jukka-Pekka Valkeapää)

“The Lighthouse” (Directed by Robert Eggers)

“Lillian” (Directed by Andreas Horwath)

“Oļeg” (Directed by Juris Kursietis)

“Blow It to Bits” (Directed by Lech Kowalski)

“Les Particules” (Directed by (Directed by Blaise Harrison

“The Orphanage” (Directed by Shahrbanoo Sadat)

“Perdrix” (Directed by Erwan Le Duc)

“For the Money” (Directed by Alejo Moguillansky)

“Sick Sick Sick” (Directed by Alice Furtado)

“Tlamess” (Directed by Ala Eddine Slim)

“An Easy Girl” (Directed by Rebecca Zlotowski)

“Wounds” (Directed by Babak Anvari)

“Yves” (Directed by Benoît Forgeard)

“Zombi Child” (Directed by Bertrand Bonello)

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