The Dead Don’t Die: zombies open the 72nd edition of the Festival!

The Dead Don't Die, 2019 © RR

The Dead Don't Die! Following on from 2013's Only Lovers Left Alive vampires, Jim Jarmusch serves up a new, deadly theme showcased in Competition to open the 72nd edition of the Festival de Cannes. This fantastical offering is the thirteenth feature film from the versatile director who won the Caméra d'Or in 1984 with Stranger than Paradise, the Short Film Palme d’Or in 1993 for his Coffee and Cigarettes, and the 2005 Grand Prix with Broken Flowers.

The cast is certainly to die for here. In Centerville, the dead are rising out of their graves, with the putrefied features of Iggy Pop, Sara Driver and Tom Waits just about discernible. Supported by a surreally strong crew, in The Dead Don’t Die Jim Jarmusch tries his hand at horror comedy, a genre he has up until now left unexplored, drawing on the talents of Chloë Sevigny, Steve Buscemi, Danny Glover, RZA, leader of the Wu-Tang Clan and the brain behind Ghost Dog's epic soundtrack (1999), Bill Murray, the compelling anti-hero in Broken Flowers, Tilda Swinton, who played a graceful yet grungy vampire in Only Lovers Left Alive, Iggy Pop, the punk rock star of 2016's Gimme Danger, Adam Driver, the poetic bus driver from Paterson, which was in Competition the year it was released, and Sara Driver, the filmmaker and director's acclaimed partner (Basquiat, 2018). 

Drawing on the neo-Western style of Dead Man (1995) and the Samurai flavour of Ghost Dog (1999), Jim Jarmusch experiments with different genres and gives viewers a fresh twist on classic references (George Romero's Night of the Living Dead in this case). This time, touches of unapologetic humour are woven through his tribute to the art of film-making, and zombie movies in particular. All's fair in love and war when it comes to ridding the peaceful town of its walking dead, and the quirky cop duo played by Adam Driver and Bill Murray is ready to get its hands dirty. "The invisible, immortal world is a natural setting for Jim Jarmusch," Tilda Swinton stated in 2013 after the screening of Only Lovers Left Alive. This year, let's hope that Ronald Peterson (Adam Driver) manages to get the situation under control…