Cannes jury president denounces Netflix amid awards debate

Brunilde Fioravanti
Mag 20, 2017

"They get to see films they absolutely wouldn't have seen".

Netflix can co-exist with cinemas, Sarandos said: "We're not against movie theaters or mean to harm them in any way".

This year was the first time the festival backed on its policy to only shortlist movies which could premiere in French cinemas.

The famed Cannes Film Festival will celebrate its 70th anniversary this year when it starts on May 17 along the French Riviera.

Jury members from right Agnes Jaoui, Fan Bingbing, Jessica Chastain, Will Smith, Jury president Pedro Almodovar, Paolo Sorrentino, Gabriel Yared, Park Cha-Wook and Maren Ade pose for photographers during the photo call for the Jury at the 70th global film festival, Cannes, southern France, Tuesday, May 16, 2017. They go to the movies twice a week, and they watch Netflix. Notably, as Variety reported in 2015, four USA movie theater chains refused to screen Cary Fukunaga's Beasts of No Nation because the film was to be released in theaters and on Netflix simultaneously, rather than abiding by the traditional 90-day delay for home debut.

After including two Netflix titles - Noah Baumbach's The Meyerowitz Stories and Bong Joon-ho's Okja - among those contending for the Palme d'Or this year, Cannes reversed course with a new rule announced last week.

The actress is a regular attendee at Cannes, though she does not have a film at the festival this year. Because of this, next year all movies will have to be available in French theatres or they can't compete at the festival.

The Cannes competition jury - led by Pedro Almodovar - assembled in front of the press Wednesday before heading off for a week of screenings in darkened rooms, and Netflix's inclusion in the official selection was a hot topic of debate. Because streaming services (both Netflix and Amazon) are becoming increasingly important distributors and even producers of good movies (Martin Scorsese's next feature, "The Irishman", is a Netflix production), the main effect of this rule will only be to further weaken the festival's lineup. In my house Netflix has been nothing but an absolute benefit because they get to watch films that they never would have seen. Netflix brings a great connectivity for them to the world. The film festival later chose to keep Ojka, as shown by the "official selection" moniker on the film's poster, but issued a rule that all future Cannes competitors have to get a theatrical release in France.

"So they have to find a French exhibitor willing to do a day-and-date vanity release or bow out of future Competition involvement?" asked Charlie Lyne, the director of the documentaries Being Clueless and Fear Itself.

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