Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Life&Culture | By Rose Hansen

Will Smith brings fresh air of West Philly to Cannes jury

A recent rule change jeopardized the standing of two Netflix titles - "Okja" and "The Meyerowitz Stories" - after French cinema owners insisted that the festival should only include films that have traditional theatrical releases planned in the European country.

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 70th edition of the Cannes Film Festival runs May 17 - 28.

Spanish director Almodovar, who heads a jury that includes Hollywood stars Will Smith and Jessica Chastain, took a tough line with Netflix, telling reporters it would be "an enormous paradox if the Palme d'Or went to a film that can not be seen in cinemas".

The Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown director said he could not conceive the Palme d'Or - or any other prize - "being given to a film and then not being able to see the film on a big screen".

The jury, which is also made up of Will Smith, Jessica Chastain and Paolo Sorrentino, will pick the Palme d'Or victor out of the 19 films in competition next weekend.

"The size of the screen should not be smaller than the chair you're sitting in. It should not be part of your everyday setting", said the Spanish filmmaker.

"They go to the movie theater to be humbled in front of certain images and there's other films that they prefer to watch at home and there's really little to no cross".

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Hollywood's great streaming debate rages on at France's prestigious Cannes Film Festival, where Netflix prepares to make its debut for the first (and possibly the last) time.

His children, Jaden and Willow Smith, "go to the movies twice a week and they watch Netflix".

A row over Netflix, which has hailed Cannes's acceptance of two of its movies as proof of its new status as a major industry player, dominated the run-up to the festival. "They get to find those artists".

Stars are arriving under tighter security than in previous years, 10 months after the truck attack in nearby Nice killed 86 people.

Sources close to the festival said Iranian Oscar-winner Asghar Farhadi and actress Lily-Rose Depp, daughter of Hollywood star Johnny Depp, would be the surprise guests to officially open the event.

Ahead of the premiere of "Ismael's Ghosts", Monica Bellucci presided over an opening ceremony that included a slight riff on the best picture envelope flub that concluded this year's Academy Awards ceremony.

The Cannes Film Festival runs through May 28, when the Palme d'Or victor and other awards will be announced.

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