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Netflix movie sparks controversy at Cannes Film Festival

Netflix movie sparks controversy at Cannes Film Festival

Posted May. 19, 2017 07:19,   

Updated May. 19, 2017 07:25

An uncomfortable tension filled the air at the 70th Cannes International Film Festival on its second day on Thursday. A subtle but controversial debate has sparked over the online video streaming service provider Netflix. The ongoing debate among film experts was about Netflix, which made its way to the red carpet as another film investor and distributor.

"The size of a screen 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," Cannes jury president Pedro Almodóvar told the press on Wednesday. "I personally cannot conceive not only the Palme d’Or, but any other prize, being given to a film and then not being able to see this film on a large screen." However, actor Will Smith as the jury rebutted, saying, "There’s very little cross between going to the cinema and watching what they (Smith's children) watch on Netflix...They get to see movies that aren’t on a screen within 8,000 miles of them...And now they get to find those artists and they look them up online and they make contact."

This year's competition includes the Netflix movies "Okja" directed by Bong Jong-ho and "The Meyerowitz Stories" by Noah Baumbach. While "Okja" will also be screened at cinemas in Korea, England, and the U.S., fans in other nations are left with no choice but to watch on Netflix.

"We have to carefully monitor how the world is changing," said Cannes festival director Thierry Fremaux before the opening of the festival. Still, the organizers already said they will change the rules so that only titles screened in French theaters will be entitled to compete starting next week. Indeed, Cannes is currently going through a clash of opinions on how to cope with the evolving technology.

Sun-Hee Jang sun10@donga.com