Published: Thu, May 18, 2017
Life&Culture | By Rose Hansen

70th Cannes Film Festival kicks off

Going forward, films will only qualify if they have a theatrical release in France (it's unclear whether those two titles will). Spanish film director and screenwriter Pedro Almodóvar has been selected as the President of the Jury for the festival with Italian actress Monica Bellucci hosting the opening and closing ceremonies. Cannes has fought back by saying Netflix, which is in the Palme competition for the first time this year, won't be allowed into the 2018 festival unless it changes its policy.

The Hollywood elite jetted into France on Wednesday for the Cannes film festival, with a Michael Moore documentary "take down" of Donald Trump among announcements stirring up a buzz as the 12-day movie marathon kicked off. Cinema purists have said this sets a unsafe precedent since the films don't get a theatrical release. There are movies that are not on a screen within 8,000 miles. Netflix brings a great connectivity.

Many read his comments as indicating that neither of Netflix's highly-touted films - "Okja" starring Tilda Swinton and Jake Gyllenhaal, nor "The Meyerowitz Stories" with Adam Sandler and Ben Stiller - would win anything at Cannes. My children watch films they otherwise wouldn't have seen. And now they get to find those artists and they get to look them up online and they make contact.

Will Smith, a member of the jury that also includes Jessica Chastain, Paolo Sorrentino and Park Chan-wook, stuck up for Netflix. "West Philadelphia is a long way from Cannes", he said.

On Wednesday, the heightened measures were already causing something unthinkable at the stringently clockwork Cannes: slight delays at screenings and press conferences.

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Many of Google's products are also vying against similar offerings from other tech conglomerates like Amazon and Microsoft. At its Google I/O 2017 developer conference today, Google revealed numerous major new features coming in Android "O".

"Cannes is a film festival in theaters, and, for the territory of France, we would like to have all the films competing in Cannes available in theaters", festival director Thierry Fremaux told Reuters in an interview.

The competition films compete for the festival's Palme d'Or, its most prestigious award - which was won previous year by Ken Loach for I, Daniel Blake. Charlie Hebdo, the Bataclan, Nice, one year ago.

A festival spokeswoman said the measures were to "guarantee the festival-goers' optimal security" while "taking care not to disrupt" the event.

Arnaud Desplechin's "Ismael's Ghosts", with Mathieu Amalric, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Cotillard, was the opening-night film.

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