Will Smith, Almodovar open a testy Cannes Film Festival


While numerous figures on the jury are familiar to the world of Cannes - Maren Ade and Park Chan-wook, both of whom had films in competition past year, professed their relief at being on the judging side of the panel - one jury member, it was pointed out, is not.

"Historically many films get into Cannes' film festival with no distribution at all", he told a press conference in Seoul to introduce Netflix's South Korean-directed film "Okja" ahead of its premiere at Cannes.

The awards for the 70th festival will be handed out on the closing night of the festival, May 28.

Iranian animated piece "Release from Heaven" by Ali Noori Oskouei will also have its market premier May 22 as opening film of Animation Day in Cannes film festival.

He added: "I personally don't perceive the Palme d'Or [should be] given to a film that is then not seen on the big screen". "You must be small and humble in front of the image that's here".

After an outcry from French theater organizers announced last week that, beginning next year, films without intentions of French theatrical release will be ineligible for Cannes' Palme d'Or competition. 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. He said younger generations in particular were losing touch with "the capacity of hypnosis of a large screen for a viewer".

However, since neither film was originally slated for French cinema release after first being shown online, the National Federation of French Cinemas (FNCF) complained strongly to festival organisers.

The movie will enjoy a full release in Korea, but as for North American and European releases, only select theaters in the USA and United Kingdom will offer screenings, according to Ted Sarandos, Netflix chief content officer, during a press conference held at Four Seasons Hotel in Jongno District, central Seoul, on Monday.

The US platform has refused to screen the two movies in French cinemas due to strict rules that mean films can not be streamed from subscription services in France until three years after their traditional box office release. Netflix brings a great connectivity for them to the world. "They get to find those artists".

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. France remains under a state of emergency since the November 2015 Paris attacks.

During the press conference, the Spanish director and American movie star argued opposing sides of the issue.

This year's festival begins with a gala screening of French drama Ismael's Ghosts, starring Marion Cotillard and Charlotte Gainsbourg.