But Smith, a member of the jury that also includes Jessica Chastain, Paolo Sorrentino and Park Chan-wook, stuck up for Netflix.
NICOLE KIDMAN, Jake Gyllenhaal and Robert Pattinson are among the A-listers heading for the French Riviera as the 70th Cannes Film Festival begins today.
The red carpet has been rolled out and the stars are taking their photo calls as the aristocracy of the film industry gathers at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes for the 70th annual film festival.
Smith was an unusual pick for the Cannes jury, given his career as one of the world’s biggest stars, which normally lands him in blockbusters like Men in Black, Bad Boys and last year’s summer hit Suicide Squad rather than artier fare.
The company has refused to screen the two movies in French cinemas because of rules that mean films can not be streamed from subscription services in France until three years after their traditional box-office release.
The online giant has refused to release its two movies in the running for the Palme d’Or to French theatres, sparking a huge row that threatens to overshadow the world’s top film festival, which officially kicks off its 70th birthday edition late yesterday.
“I personally don’t perceive the Palme d’Or [should be] given to a film that is then not seen on the big screen”, Almodovar said to the room full of global journalists assembled at the Palais.
“All this does not mean that I am not open to the new technologies or to all what these technologies bring to us”, he told reporters. The size should not be smaller than the chair on which you’re sitting. You must feel small and humble in front of the image that is here to capture you.
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.
Almodovar, the filmmaker behind Julieta and Volver, added he doesn’t “perceive the Palme d’Or [should be] given to a film that is then not seen on the big screen”.
He went on to say, “I’ll be fighting for one thing that I’m afraid the new generation is not aware of”. In my home, Netflix has had absolutely no effect on what they go to the movie theater to watch.
Neither won any prizes, unless you count the Palme Dog awarded to Nellie, the bulldog in Paterson.
It’s not as if they would’ve gone to the cinema if it wasn’t on Netflix. While Cannes is one of the most recognizable names in film, numerous movies that compete (and win) at the festival are foreign, and thus do not generate the same viewership domestically as those that originate in the United States.
But Will Smith, who was also on the panel, defended Netflix shortly after.
The twice Oscar-nominated Smith said he had hesitated about accepting the invitation to be a Cannes judge when he realized it would take up two weeks of his time and would be spent mostly watching films. And now they get to find those artists.