I tweeted about this beauty a week ago and stand by my word. I’m typically not a zombie kinda girl but utter Jim Jarmusch’s name and I can’t watch it fast enough. So the buzz was deafening around ‘The Dead Don’t Die’ from the time the first images of the film were released, building up to a cacophony of joy when the trailer was first shown. And don’t even get me started on Adam Driver. I mean, the man is taller than Bill Murray, which is saying a lot, and all the handsome of a young Keanu Reeves, plus outstanding acting talents to boot.
Then, this morning Cannes announced it will open its 72nd edition of the festival with the Jarmusch film, in Competition no less. On Tuesday May 14th, on the giant screen of the Grand Théâtre Lumière, the film by the American director and screenwriter will be this year’s first Palme d'Or competition screening.
On the press release from the Festival de Cannes the synopsis reads as follows: “In the sleepy small town of Centerville, something is not quite right. The moon hangs large and low in the sky, the hours of daylight are becoming unpredictable and animals are beginning to exhibit unusual behaviors. No one quite knows why. News reports are scary and scientists are concerned. But no one foresees the strangest and most dangerous repercussion that will soon start plaguing Centerville: ‘The Dead Don’t Die’ -- they rise from their graves and savagely attack and feast on the living -- and the citizens of the town must battle for their survival.”
OK, yuck and yum at the same time, right?
My own history with Jim Jarmusch’s fantastic way of filmmaking goes back to ‘Down by Law’ which I watched in the Village with a man I had a huge crush on and who turned out to be a little boy. Almost literally since we are going back to 1986, I had just started college then and he was in one of my classes.
I’ll never forget Roberto Benigni and his written-down-in-a-note-pad American idioms in the film, gems like “there is not enough room to swing a cat!” when he first walks into the jail cell where John Lurie and Tom Waits are being held. And the other ‘I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream,” which I can still be heard quoting today, on a good day. And his wonderful mug when asked by the other two what he’s in for, “I kill a man!” I continued to love and cherish Jarmusch’s work to the modern day and his storylines as well as hauntingly beautiful visual threads still give me goosebumps.
So Cannes, here’s a glass raised to a wonderful, wonderful opening night choice and “merci” — for starting this 72nd edition with a great American artist. And a cool NYC man, Jim Jarmusch. I know this one’s for you, Richard Lormand.