Almodovar and Smith's comments on Netflix at Cannes

Joan Terry
May 19, 2017

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.

But Smith, a member of the jury that also includes Jessica Chastain, Paolo Sorrentino and Park Chan-wook, stuck up for Netflix.

"They go to the movie theater to be humbled in front of certain images and there's other films that they prefer to watch at home and there's really little to no cross".

Festival organizers last week unveiled a new requirement for competition films to have traditional theatrical distribution in French theaters after the French Cinema Federation (FNCF) objected to the inclusion of two Netflix films in Cannes' official selection.

"West Philadelphia is a long way from Cannes", said Smith, referring to the scrappy neighborhood in the northeastern US city where he grew up. And now they get to find those artists and they get to look them up online and they make contact. Besides the The Meyerowitz Stories later in May and Okja in June, Netflix will this month debut War Machine starring Brad Pitt, in December Bright starring Will Smith, and many more.

"Many are still reeling from the trauma", said the director, whose US$50 million (S$70 million) Netflix feature - which premieres on Friday - is about a country girl who tries to save a genetically-engineered beast from a greedy multinational company.

For the first time, two Netflix films are competing for the Palme d'Or this year.

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Security was greater than ever at the French festival, which has stepped up efforts to restrict access, added more metal detectors and even introduced an anti-drone system.

When the topic was raised at the press conference Wednesday, Almodovar sided with the theater owners.

A festival spokeswoman said the measures were to "guarantee the festival-goers' optimal security" while "taking care not to disrupt" the event.

Asked about reports that she and Reece Witherspoon are talking to Australian author Liane Moriarty and trying to develop a sequel, she teases, "It's definitely being talked about, but it takes a lot of work to get it to where we want it".

The extravaganza's opening ceremony on Wednesday evening will be hosted by Italian actress Monica Bellucci, with French drama "Ismael's Ghosts", starring Marion Cotillard, as the opening film.

In the Cannes version, a new envelope was brought out and the interaction dissolved into a dance that ended with a kiss from Bellucci.

Others in the running for top honours include "Happy End", a film set against the European migrant crisis by "Amour" director Michael Haneke, who is seeking a record-breaking third Palme d'Or.

Other reports by BadHub

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