Cannes Film Fest 2019: NOT to be Seen in This Edition

As expected, Netflix is skipping the 2019 Cannes Film Fest again, so the French event will not include such potential awards contenders as Scorsese’s mob epic The Irishman, Meryl Streep starrer The Laundromat (about the Panama Papers) from director Steven Soderbergh, and Noah Baumbach’s period drama The King, starring Timothee Chalamet.

More surprising were the high-profile omissions from the 2019 lineup that many experts had predicted were sure things.

Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time In Hollywood, which looked like a lock for the 72 edition of the Cannes fest, occupies the top of the missing titles–and the most talked about absence.

But the feature — which stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie and Timothy Olyphant —wasn’t ready in time, the festival said Thursday.

Cannes artistic director Thierry Fremaux said the post-production on the film, which Tarantino shot in traditional 35 mm, has been particularly long, and that the director was “in a sprint” to finish it in time for its scheduled release this summer.

Fremaux discussed the absence of big American titles this year and its impact on press attention and awards buzz.

“I’m sure that the festival gets less attention from the American press when we have less American films, but not in the rest of the world. I think the American people only watch the world from their point of view, but you know Cannes – and it’s written in the rules of the foundation of Cannes–is about universal artists and about the world, not about only French or American cinema.

Last year the American press decided to criticize Cannes, and we don’t care. We do care about real critiques, because of course we are not perfect and can make mistakes or can improve some things. But on the other hand, when other festivals in the fall only focused on American cinema, I think it’s a big mistake. I think the duty of a film festival is to not only to pick up films from all over the world, but to pay attention to them in the same way.”

The legend of Cannes is made by American and French cinema — and by Fellini, Tarkovsky, Bergman — and it’s easy to go back and mention these names. But we have them – the Bergman, the Tarkovsky, the Fellini, and the Kurosawa of world cinema. So my job is to pay attention to them.

And we really, really, really focus on having Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood ready for Cannes, not because he is American but because he is one of the greatest filmmakers in the world, because he is part of the Cannes family, part of the Cannes history. He is as important as Orson Welles was, or as important as Martin Scorsese.

That said, Fremaux still hoped that the movie could still be a late addition to Cannes, should it be ready before the festival kicks off on May 14.