CANNES, France – The 72nd edition of the Cannes Film Festival got under way on Tuesday with a screening of “The Dead Don’t Die,” director Jim Jarmusch’s zombie-themed comedy set in the contemporary United States.
Speaking in their respective languages, Spanish Oscar-winning actor Javier Bardem and French actress and singer Charlotte Gainsbourg stood on the red carpet in front of Cannes’ Palais des Festivals to proclaim the official start of the 11-day event.
Jarmusch was joined for the occasion by most of the film’s star-studded cast, including Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Chloë Sevigny, Tilda Swinton and Selena Gomez.
“For us this is like a family reunion,” Swinton said on the red carpet.
“The Dead Don’t Die” tells the story of a US town invaded by zombies, though the plot is essentially a vehicle for satirizing consumerism and climate denialism.
Among the other films vying for the Palme d’Or are Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” which unfolds in the Los Angeles of the late 1960s and early ‘70s and features Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie.
Tarantino received the Palme d’Or 25 years ago for “Pulp Fiction.”
Likewise competing for top honors will be Pablo Almodovar’s latest work, “Dolor y gloria” (Pain & Glory), starring Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz.
A documentary about soccer great Diego Maradona will be shown during the festival, but not in competition.
The job of choosing the Palme d’Or winner belongs to a jury led by Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu, a two-time Oscar winner.
The panel includes three other filmmakers – Yorgos Lanthimos, Pawel Pawlikowski and Alice Rohrwacher – and actors Elle Fanning and Maimouna N’Diaye, along with comic-book creator Enki Bilal and screenwriter Kelly Reichardt.
Iñarritu, the first Mexican to serve as jury president, said that he and his colleagues embody diversity.
Fanning and Reichardt are Americans, Pawlikowski is Polish, N’Diaye is from Senegal, the Belgrade-born Bilal has spent most of his life in France, Rohrwacher is an Italian and Lanthimos hails from Greece.
The creator of “The Revenant” and “Birdman” expressed ambivalence about the idea of rating films.
“To be a president is an award situation,” Iñarritu said. “I will not call it judgment. I don’t like to judge films. I like to be impregnated by them.”