Will Smith gets embroiled in Netflix debate


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

As the 70th Cannes Film Festival kicked off in the south of France Wednesday, tensions were high even among the festival's star-powered jury.

The Cannes Film Festival is one of the most prestigious and formal events in the world, but this year the festival is getting a breath of fresh air thanks to one special jury member, box office maverick Will Smith.

But that small victory came crashing back when Cannes made a decision to tweak its competition rules after this year as a result of the backlash toward the Netflix titles.

Smith added his two cents, talking about his kids' use of Netflix, saying, "In my house, Netflix has been nothing but an absolute benefit". Netflix brings a great connectivity for them to the world.

This year's 70th edition of the Cannes festival is a watershed moment for Netflix, which has two titles in the selection, including one in the competition lineup (Bong Joon-Ho's Okja and out-of-competition title The Meyerowitz Stories from Noah Baumbach).

Entirely coincidentally of course, Smith, a judge on the Cannes Film Festival panel, is starring in a film to be released on Netflix later this year. There's movies that aren't on a screen within 8,000 miles of them.

Smith, who has not had a film play at Cannes before, was dapperly dressed and cheerfully posing with festival-goers who screamed "Will!" France has been under a state of emergency since the November 2015 Paris attacks.

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Sarandos said film festivals may be forced to adapt as more and more movies become available on platforms beyond traditional theaters.

The star of such popcorn hits as "Independence Day", "Bad Boys", and "Suicide Squad" had the crowds of journalists so captivated at a Wednesday afternoon press conference, he didn't leave much speaking time for his fellow jurors - like Jessica Chastain or a totally silent Paolo Sorrentino.

Asked about reports that she and Reece Witherspoon are talking to Australian author Liane Moriarty and trying to develop a sequel, she teases, "It's definitely being talked about, but it takes a lot of work to get it to where we want it".

Three years ago European Parliament had backed a motion urging anti-trust regulators to get tough on Google. "So we need to pay attention", festival director Thierry Fremaux said in an interview.

Lynne Ramsay's You Were Never Really Here is set to be another highlight, seeing as she hasn't realised a film since 2011's acclaimed We Need to Talk About Kevin.

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

The Austrian Auteur Michael Haneke is favourite to win the Palme d'Or for a record-breaking third time for his latest film, Happy End.