Cannes 2019 Preview: The Official Competition, Plus, Programs Explained

Editor, Festivals; Los Angeles, California (@RylandAldrich)
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Pop open the rosé, Cannes is here yet again. The big French festival/excuse for Hollywood to go hang out on the Riviera officially kicks off Tuesday. We've got a series of three previews to take a look at what's playing on the Croisette.

Cannes can be a fair bit confusing so here's a quick breakdown of how it works. There is the official selection, which includes the following feature film categories:

  • Competition - The big daddy with the most prestigious films at Cannes (22 Films)
  • Un Certain Regard - One step below the official comp, still very prestigious (18 Films)
  • Out of Competition - A place to play blockbusters and some other high profile random stuff (5 Films)
  • Midnight - Their nod to our kind (2 Films)
  • Special Screenings - I'm not sure what qualifies as a Special Screening and not Out of Comp, but these are official Cannes selections that don't compete. (10 Films)

There are also repertory Cannes Classics, a few movies they show on the beach, and the shorts program.

That brings us to the official sidebars. These are technically their own festivals with their own rules/programming teams. But if you have a Cannes credential, you can get in. So it's kind of like if you had one credential for both Sundance and Slamdance, if you follow. Here are the main three:

  • Directors Fortnight (popularly referred to by its French name Quinzaine -- pronounced Can-Zan) - This program tends to get a bit of a younger/more edgy vibe and is usually packed with great films (25 Films).
  • Critics Week - This rather small program is bifurcated between its 7 film competition and 4 out of competition films.
  • ACID - Sorry, I know almost nothing about this one.

Cannes also has its gigantic market where sales agents schedule their own screenings but that is way too complicated for what we do here.

Hopefully that helped clear things up. Now onto the preview, where today we take a look at a few of the films playing in the main Competition.

Parasite
It's difficult to get us more excited around these parts than a new movie from Bong Joon-ho (Snowpiercer, Okja, The Host ...obv). We don't know a ton about this one except that it's about an unemployed family caught up in a wild incident. Bring it, Bong!

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