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Cannes opens with Jim Jarmusch's zombies and a tribute to Varda

It's the first time a zombie flick has opened the festival on the French Riviera.

Actors Selena Gomez, left, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton

Actors Selena Gomez, left, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton and director Jim Jarmusch attend the opening ceremony and premiere of "The Dead Don't Die" at the 72nd annual Cannes Film Festival in southern France on Tuesday.  Photo Credit: Invision/AP / Arthur Mola

The Cannes Film Festival opened Tuesday with the premiere of Jim Jarmusch's zombie movie "The Dead Don't Die," passionate words from jury president Alejandro Iñárritu on President Donald Trump's plans for a Mexican border wall, and a director's chair left empty in tribute to the late Agnes Varda. 

It's the first time a zombie flick has opened the festival on the French Riviera. The film, starring Bill Murray, Adam Driver and Tilda Swinton, opened the 72nd edition of the festival with a bloody and droll apocalyptic tale inspired by George Romero.

The opening ceremony began with a chair marked "Agnes V." to commemorate the French New Wave pioneer, who died in March at age 90, and a performance of "Without You," from Varda's landmark 1962 film "Cleo From 5 to 7," by the Belgian singer Angèle.

Iñárritu, the Mexican-born filmmaker of 2014's "Birdman" and 2015's "The Revenant," is the first Latin American to preside over the jury that decides Cannes' top honor, the Palme d'Or. Addressing reporters earlier in the day alongside fellow jury members, Iñárritu drew a parallel between the rhetoric of Trump to that of the 1930s.

"We know how this story ends if we keep with that rhetoric," said Iñárritu. "We think we are evolving with the technology and social media. It seems every tweet is a brick of isolation attached to ideological things and is creating a lot of isolation and paranoia."

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