Will Smith gets embroiled in Netflix debate

Ruben Ruiz
May 19, 2017

In what has been considered a watershed moment for the streaming service, it has two films competing for the Palme d'Or at the 70th edition of the festival.

The "Independence Day" actor is now one of the jurors at the Cannes Film Festival and during a press conference Smith became embroiled in a heated debate with the jury president and Spanish director after he claimed the introduction of the popular streaming site has increased tension in the film industry.

What was also clear was that no one else on the French Riviera was having more fun that Smith, who charmed crowds everywhere from the red carpet, where he broke out in dance, to the opening ceremony, where he received the most applause of any of his fellow jury members.

"I wish you 12 days full of enthusiasm", Oscar-winning Iranian director Asghar Farhadi said as he declared the festival officially open alongside actress Lily-Rose Depp, daughter of Johnny Depp.

"What I hope is that we'll all feel the real emotion experienced by the first people to watch Viridinia, La Dolce Vita or Apocalypse Now", he said, naming the Palme d'Or winners from 1961, 1960 and 1979.

"I personally can not conceive of not only the Palme d'Or, but any other prize, being given to a film and then being unable to see this film on a large screen", he said, according to ABC News.

He said: "I have a 16-year-old and an 18-year-old and a 24-year-old at home".

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17/05/2017. Director Pedro Almodovar, Jury President of the 70th Cannes Film Festival and Jury members Agnes Jaoui and Will Smith pose.

Critics have hit out at Netflix's inclusion and a new rule has been introduced for next year requiring films to have had theatrical distribution in French cinemas. There are movies that are not on a screen within 8,000 miles of them. "There's very little cross between going to the cinema and watching what they watch on Netflix".

This year, Cannes selected two Netflix releases - Bong Joon-ho's Okja and Noah Baumbach's The Meyerowitz Stories - for its Palme d'Or competition.

"In my home, Netflix has been nothing but an absolute benefit". My children watch films they otherwise wouldn't have seen.

Smith launched a spirited defence of Netflix, saying it "broadens my children's cinematic global comprehension".

One might dare to say that Smith even stole the show on opening night at the Palais where the festival opened with Arnaud Desplechin's Ismael's Ghosts.

The Australian actress is the undisputed queen of this year's Cannes, starring in three movies as well as the TV series "Top of the Lake", which is getting a special screening.

Other reports by GizPress

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