When the Cannes Film Festival announced their 2019 competition line-up, Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood was notably absent. It had long been predicted as a favourite to compete for the Palme D’Or given Tarantino’s status as a previous winner and festival regular. Indeed, when he wasn’t announced, the first question asked by the press was asking why he was missing. Bless.
But never fear, film journalists who only worry about the Hollywood releases at European festivals, for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood will premiere in competition for the Palme. It was rumoured that festival artistic director Thierry Fremaux was holding out for Tarantino to have completed a cut of the film in time for May. It’s not unusual for such things to happen. Wong Kar-wai’s 2046 was entered into competition in 2003 despite not being finished, and as Roger Ebert reported, it ‘arrived at the last minute at Cannes 2003, after missing its earlier screenings; the final reel reportedly arrived at the airport almost as the first was being shown.’ In 2017, Lynne Ramsay submitted You Were Never Really Here about a day after she’d finished her initial edit and admitted it still wasn’t finished (she still won two prizes that year). Tarantino’s film is expected to screen on May 21st, the 25th anniversary of Pulp Fiction’s premiere.
Another addition to the competition line-up is Intermezzo, by Abdellatif Kechiche, director of another Palme D’Or winner Blue is the Warmest Colour. The film is the follow-up to 2017’s Mektoub, My Love: Canto Uno. I’d say his inclusion is a surprise but it’s not really. Kechiche was accused of harassment, unpaid overtime and violations of labour laws by technicians on Blue is the Warmest Colour, and his leading actresses, Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos, talked candidly about the difficulties they faced working with him. Seydoux said the experience, including the long hours of filming sex scenes, was ‘kind of humiliating sometimes’. During a fight scene, Exarchopolous was left with a bad cut, to which the director allegedly responded, ‘No, we’re not finished. We’re doing it again.’ In October 2018, he was accused of sexual assault by an actress who claims she woke up to find Kechiche groping her with her trousers open.
So yeah, Cannes can’t find more than four women directors to screen in competition but the door is always open for men accused of sexual assault. What an honour.
Header Image Source: Sony Pictures