This year's Cannes Film Festival is quaking with change

Brunilde Fioravanti
Mag 20, 2017

The Austrian Auteur Michael Haneke is favourite to win the Palme d'Or for a record-breaking third time for his latest film, Happy End.

During a press conference Wednesday with the competition jury members, jury president Pedro Almodovar read a prepared statement in which he dismissed Netflix films as viable contenders for festival's coveted Palme d'Or award.

"I was probably 14 years old the last time I watched three movies in one day!" he said.

French distributors have protested that two of this year's in-competition titles, Netflix's "Okja" and "The Meyerowitz Stories", didn't until recently have a theatrical release in France.

"All this doesn't mean that I am not open or celebrate new technologies and opportunities", Almodóvar said. Well, the last question gets a sort-of answer, with the latest poster for Netflix's upcoming film.

However, since neither film was originally slated for French cinema release after first being shown online, the National Federation of French Cinemas (FNCF) complained strongly to festival organisers.

The 70th Cannes International Film Festival raised its curtain on Wednesday, with the screening of French director Arnaud Desplechin premiere "Les Fantômes d'Ismaël" (Ghosts of Ismael).

Spanish director Pedro Almodovar is leading the jury charged with picking a victor among the 19 films vying for the coveted Palme d'Or top prize, on a panel that also includes Smith, "Interstellar" star Jessica Chastain, and Chinese actress Fan Bingbing.

The discussion came amid the dispute between Netflix and French exhibitors that center on a rule that states a film can only become available on streaming platforms in France a full three years after its release in cinemas. "You really have to have the feeling of being humble and small compared to the big screen", he added. "It's two completely different forms of entertainment". "They go to the movies twice a week and they watch Netflix", Smith said.

Ceremony host Monica Bellucci poses for photographers during the photo call for the film Ismaels Ghosts, at the 70th worldwide film festival, Cannes, southern France, Tuesday, May 16, 2017. In my house, Netflix has been nothing but an absolute benefit, because they get to watch films that they never even would've seen.

Actor Smith, who was nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of boxer Muhammad Ali, launched a spirited defence of Netflix, saying it "broadens my children's cinematic global comprehension". American independentsFour titles from USA has been selected for the competition with, needless to say, neither the political authorities nor the film studios having a chance to influence the selection done by the artistic director of the festival, Thierry Fremaux.

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