Top 150 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2019: #5. Zombi Child – Bertrand Bonello
Art-house auteur Bertrand Bonello returns with what’s described as a mix between ‘ethnology and fantasy’ for his eighth feature, Zombi Child. Following the controversial and eventually muted release of his formidable 2016 title Nocturama (check out our interview), which provides the perspectives of a group of Parisian youths following a bomb attack in the city (and was rejected in Cannes, going on to compete in San Sebastian and Toronto), Bonello’s latest has been co-produced and pre-purchased through Arte France Cinema. After winning the FIPRESCI Prize in Critics’ Week at Cannes in 2001 for his sophomore feature The Pornographer, Bonello became a fixture at the Croisette, premiering in competition with Tiresia (2003), House of Tolerance (2011), and Saint Laurent (2014), while his 2008 On War went to Directors’ Fortnight.
Gist: From Bonello’s own script, the focus of Zombi Child places Haitian girl Clairvius Narcisse with a historical and political context, jumping between 1962 Haiti to modern day Paris, and juxtaposing Narcisse’s trajectory, a girl who befell a voodoo curse turning her into a zombie, with that of her aunt, a voodoo priestess.
Release Date/Prediction: Produced through Arte France Cinema, Les Films du Bal, and My New Pictures, filming is set to commence at the end of 2018 in France and wrapping up in Haiti in the summer of 2019. While the controversial subject matter allowed Cannes to bungle Bonello’s Nocturama in 2016, we expect him to be a major contender for Venice 2019, potentially marking his first time ever at the fest.