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Cannes ban: Netflix hits out at French 'establishment'

19 May 2017, 10:25 | Max Haynes

Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival 'Redoubtable

Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival                     'Redoubtable

― Reuters picCANNES, May 18 ― Cannes jury chief Pedro Almodovar fired a warning shot at streaming giant Netflix yesterday, declaring that the film that wins the festival's top prize should be shown in cinemas. Sarandos added that finding great storytellers from around the world and giving them the ability to distribute their films globally is what Netflix does to expand the movie industry.

It's the first time any Netflix movies have been considered for the prestigious Palme d'Or award - and it will be the last. But the potted plants aren't there to look good - they are a security measure to avert terrorist attacks during the film festival. The model dictates that movies must be released exclusively in movie theaters before they are made available at home.

The Cannes Film Festival begins next Wednesday, and this year's in-competition slate isn't promising; if directors' past performance is any predictor (and sometimes it isn't), only a few of the main-slate films are likely to hold any enduring interest. Festival organisers tried to negotiate a compromise, with a "limited release" of the movies in France mooted.

A backlash from French cinema chains prompted Cannes organizers to change the festival's rules from next year onward to insist on a theatrical release - a move that could effectively ban Netflix from taking part in the future. The actor once again returns to the French Riviera this year and this time around it is for his film Manto. Farrell, who was nominated for a Golden Globe in Yorgos Lanthimos' 2015 quirky film, The Lobster, also co-stars with Kidman in The Beguiled as a wounded Union soldier taken in during the Civil War by a boarding school of sheltered Virginia schoolgirls. That's in response to the inclusion of Netflix and the decision has been criticized by its CEO, Reed Hastings. Films are prohibited from streaming or appearing on subscription video on demand for three years after playing in theaters. "You must be small and humble in front of the image that's here". Festival programmers thought "they could get away with showing Netflix movies", he said.

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Italian actress Monica Bellucci will host the gala opening ceremony on Wednesday night, with French drama "Ismael's Ghosts", starring Marion Cotillard, as the opening film. When announcing this year's lineup, festival director Thierry Fremaux acknowledged Netflix presents "a unique and unheard of situation for us".

The Cannes Film Festival runs through May 28, when the Palme d'Or victor and other awards will be announced.

But Smith said Netflix was not a threat to movie theaters, as people watched streaming video and also went to the cinema.

The jury will be presided over by Spanish writer-director Pedro Almodovar, with Jessica Chastain, Will Smith and Paolo Sorrentino also joining the panel.



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