The film, adapted from the eponymous novel by French author Caryl Ferey, was shot entirely on location in South Africa.
Cannes, widely regarded as the world's top film festival, opens on May 15 with Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby, starring Leonardo di Caprio in a remake of the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic novel.
This year's jury will be headed by Hollywood legend Steven Spielberg.
Zulu is set in Cape Town against the background of a country still overshadowed by apartheid and where affluent suburbs rub shoulders with dirt poor townships.
It tells story of two police officers played by Bloom and Whitaker caught up in a search described by organisers as combining "elements of political film noir and social study".
The movie was co-written by Julien Rappeneau with a score by Alexandre Desplat.
Whitaker in 2007 won the best actor Academy Award for his role as former Ugandan dictator Idi Amin Dada in The Last King of Scotland. He also won best actor at Cannes in 1988 for his role in Clint Eastwood's Bird.
The 66th Festival de Cannes will close on May 26.
The full list of films in the official selection will be announced next Thursday. – Sapa-AFP