The jury president of this year’s Cannes Film Festival has announced he will only award cinema-released movies, which would exclude Netflix productions.
Spanish director Pedro Almodovar has said in a surprise statement that the film winning this year’s coveted Palme d’Or should be shown in cinemas.
“It would be an enormous paradox if the Palme d’Or went to a film that cannot be seen in cinemas,” he said in the jury’s first press conference.
Netflix has two movies running in competition this year, Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories and Bong Joon Ho’s Okja.
Both films were shortlisted by the festival with full knowledge of the company’s policy to reserve the rights of their movies for streaming.
This year was the first time the festival backed on its policy to only shortlist movies which could premiere in French cinemas.
Under French law, a movie which opens in its cinemas has to wait three years until it is allowed on a streaming platform.
Netflix has always maintained its business model consists on the ability to premiere its own productions on its website within days of its first screening.
Festival director Thierry Fremaux issued a statement last week saying that only movies opening in French cinemas would make the list.
However, this year, the two movies previously shortlisted would still be allowed to run.
Now, the jury president has taken on himself the mission to block the streaming giant’s run for the title, but he will have resistance from the other jurors.
Jury member and Hollywood star Will Smith, who has admitted he is “a long way from Cannes” and “hopes to leave less dumb”, defended Netflix at the same press conference.
“I see very little cross between going to the cinema and watching what they watch on Netflix in my home,” he said.
“They are two different forms of entertainment. With Netflix they get the benefit to watch what they never would have seen, it brings great connectivity to them to the world. Netflix has done nothing but broaden my children’s global cinematic comprehension.”
He also added that he was looking forward to the opportunity to “slam my hand on the table and disagree with Pedro”.
“Part of the reason why we’re here is to bring our personal perspective, to be confronted with potential biases,” he added.
“The reason to put together a group this diverse is to have those collisions. I hope we’d have the collisions artistically, not physically in the world.”
So, if Almodovar gets his way, which movies are still running?
:: Cannes In Competition (without Netflix)
Wonderstruck, Todd Haynes
Le Redoutable, Michel Hazanavicius
Geu-Hu (The Day After), Hong Sangsoo
Hikari (Radiance), Naomi Kawase
The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Yorgos Lanthimos
A Gentle Creature, Sergei Loznitsa
Jupiter’s Moon, Kornél Mundruczó
L’amant Double, François Ozon
You Were Never Really Here, Lynne Ramsay
Good Time, Benny Safdie and Josh Safdie
Nelyubov (Loveless), Andrey Zvyagintsev
In the Fade, Fatih Akin
120 Battements Par Minute, Robin Campillo
The Beguiled, Sofia Coppola
Rodin, Jacques Doillon
Happy End, Michael Haneke