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‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ Joins Cannes’ Competition Roster

The suspense is over: Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” will indeed have its world premiere and compete at the Cannes Film Festival, the fest announced Thursday.

“Intermezzo” from Abdellatif Kechiche, the Palme d’Or-winning director of “Blue Is the Warmest Color,” has also been added to the competition slate.

The star-studded movie has been widely anticipated as a festival highlight but wasn’t included in Cannes’ official selection announcement on April 18. Artistic director Thierry Fremaux told journalists several times that day that he hoped for post-production on Tarantino’s film to be completed in time for the film to be shown at the festival. Fremaux said Tarantino was eager to be back at Cannes and was working hard to finish the film by May, which was a challenge because it was shot in 35mm, which takes longer to edit than digital film, and is slated for a July release.

“We were afraid the film would not be ready, as it wouldn’t be released until late July, but Quentin Tarantino, who has not left the editing room in four months, is a real, loyal and punctual child of Cannes!” Fremaux said Thursday. “Like for ‘Inglourious Basterds,’ he’ll definitely be there – 25 years after the Palme d’Or for ‘Pulp Fiction’ – with a finished film screened in 35mm and his cast in tow.” Fremaux described the film as a “love letter to the Hollywood of his childhood, a rock music tour of 1969, and an ode to cinema as a whole.”

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” is expected to unspool May 21 to mark the 25th anniversary of “Pulp Fiction’s” world premiere on the Croisette.

Set in Hollywood in the late 1960s, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt as, respectively, Rick Dalton, a washed-up actor, and Cliff Booth, his longtime stunt double. Dalton lives next door to Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie), the pregnant actress who was murdered by Charles Manson’s followers in 1969. Emile Hirsch, Timothy Olyphant, Kurt Russell, Bruce Dern, Damian Lewis, Dakota Fanning and the late Luke Perry complete the cast.

The movie was written and directed by Tarantino, backed by Sony’s Columbia Pictures, and produced by Shannon McIntosh and David Heyman.

“Intermezzo” follows “Mektoub, My Love: Canto Uno,” the first half of a two-part portrait of a Franco-Tunisian youth’s amorous pursuits, which world premiered at Venice in 2017. The movie stars Ophélie Bau – whose performance in the first installment earned her a Cesar nomination for best newcomer – and Salim Kechiouche.

Fremaux said he “saw the film last Thursday, as it was still being edited, and definitely right in the middle of edits.” Running four hours, the movie will screen at the end of the Festival “so the DCP has time to get there,” said Fremaux.

The other additions to the official selection are Gaspar Noé’s medium-length “Lux Aeterna,” described by the festival as an “essay on cinema, the love of film, and on-set hysterics” with Béatrice Dalle and Charlotte Gainsbourg, in the midnight screening section; Lorenzo Mattotti’s animated film “La famosa invasione degli orsi in Sicilia” and Larissa Sadilova’s Russian drama “Odnazhdy v Trubchevske” in Un Certain Regard; as well as four movies in the special screening section: Gael García Bernal’s “Chicuarotes,” a portrait of Mexican society through the story of teenagers; Patricio Guzmán’s “La Cordillera de los sueños”; Leila Conners’ “Ice on Fire,” a documentary about climate change backed by Leonardo DiCaprio; and Dan Krauss’s “5B,” a documentary about a ward at San Francisco General Hospital which was the first in the U.S. to treat patients with AIDS.

Cannes’ competition lineup boasts Terrence Malick’s German-language wartime drama “A Hidden Life,” Jim Jarmusch’s zombie satire “The Dead Don’t Die,” Pedro Almodóvar’s self-reflective “Pain and Glory,” Ken Loach’s “Sorry We Missed You,” Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s “The Young Ahmed,” Italian director Marco Bellocchio’s “The Traitor,” Xavier Dolan’s “Matthias and Maxime,” Ladj Ly’s “Les Misérables,” Mati Diop’s “Atlantique” and Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite,” among others.

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