Almodovar and Smith's comments on Netflix at Cannes

Cesar Mills
May 19, 2017

Opening Wednesday with French director Arnaud Desplechin's "Ismael's Ghosts", this year's festival includes films from Netflix, movies from Amazon (including Todd Haynes' "Wonderstruck"), two high-profile television series (David Lynch's "Twin Peaks" revival and Jane Champion's "Top of the Lake"), and virtual-reality exhibits, including a multimedia installation by Alejandro Inarritu.

The Spanish director, who has had five films in the competition since 1999 - most recently Julieta past year - was asked by a journalist if he would rather have his films seen in 190 countries (i.e., on a streaming service) or win a Palme d'Or. 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. Netflix brings a great connectivity. He said younger generations in particular were losing touch with "the capacity of hypnosis of a large screen for a viewer".

But Smith was among those not clapping and he disagreed with the Spanish director, revealing his kids are huge Netflix fans.

"The only thing, as we are talking about movie theatres, is that at a certain moment in the day, several times a day, the lights go out and we watch a film - together - and that's cinema".

― 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. You must feel small and humble in front of the image that is here to capture you. The festival relented and next year won't accept streaming-only films in the competition. "I think that this is part of a struggle to find the best ways to coexist eventually".

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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 row centres on strict rules that restrict subscription services from online streaming in France until three years after a movie goes on general release.

Online giant Netflix has caused a furor in Cannes for refusing to commit to a traditional theatrical release in France of the two films prior to online distribution.

Elaborating on his experience there by far, the actor added, "It's a great festival, and some of the world's best movies are screened there every year".

Austrian director Michael Haneke could make it a record third Palme d'Or with "Happy End", starring the queen of art-house cinema, Isabelle Huppert. "It has broadened my children's global cinematic comprehension".

Other reports by GizPress

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