Amazon’s Too Old to Die Young has officially joined the line-up for Cannes 2019.
The show, which is created by Nicolas Winding Refn, explores the criminal underbelly of Los Angeles, charting the existential journey of several characters, as they transform from killers to samurais. Starring Miles Teller, John Hawkes, Jena Malone and William Baldwin, the thriller is co-written by Ed Brubaker (Captain America: Winter Soldier, Westworld) and comprises 10 episodes that are approximately 90 minutes each. Whether they’re serialised or standalone is not yet known, but Cannes will premiere Episodes 4 and 5 of the series at the Croisette this year.
It marks only the series to screen at the festival, following David Lynch’s Twin Peaks and Jane Campion’s Top of the Lake, and, moreover, the very first streaming original show to debut at the event.
The news, confirmed today by Cannes, arrives as the festival continues to drive the movie industry’s cinema-versus-streaming debate, with artistic director Thierry Frémaux changing the rules to prevent any non-theatrically released movie to screen in competition at Cannes – and, with France’s laws stopping any film that shows in French cinemas going onto streaming services for three years, that means Netflix is on Cannes’ blacklist. This year is the first festival in four years without any Netflix or Amazon Studios titles in its line-up.
When it comes to TV shows, though, Cannes is apparently more flexible. Refn, of course, is no stranger to the festival, screening Only God Forgives and The Neon Demon on the Riviera, and winning Best Director for Drive in 2011.
While streaming remains a no-go area for Cannes’ film selection, though, this year marks progress elsewhere, with four female directors competing for 2019’s Palmed d’Or, and 13 in the official selection overall – a low percentage but one that marks a steady, if slow, improvement. They include Mati Diop’ Atlantique, Justine Triet’s Sibyl, Céline Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire and Jessica Hausner’s sci-fi Little Joe, starring Ben Whishaw and Emily Beecham.
Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in America is not part of the festival, because it’s still in editing, but Fremaux said he hoped it would be completed in time to still premiere at the festival. Other American directors present include Terrence Malick (A Hidden Life) and Ira Sachs (Frankie). Big hitters and familiar names to the festival, meanwhile, range from Pedro Almodóvar (Pain and Glory), Ken Load (Sorry We Missed You), The Dardennes (The Young Ahmed), Marco Bellocchio (The Traitor), Xavier Dolan (Matthias and Maxime) and Arnaud Desplechin (Ismael’s Ghosts).
The festival opens on 14th May with Jim Jarmusch’s The Dead Don’t Die. Too Old to Die Young will be released on Amazon Prime Video on Friday 14th June. You can watch the trailer for the series here – or read on below for the cute festival poster, which pays tribute to the late Agnès Varda.