Almodovar and Smith's comments on Netflix at Cannes

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. Their offerings: Korean auteur Bong Joon-ho's Tilda Swinton-starring film Okja and American indie dramedy darling Noah Baumbach's The Meyerowitz Stories. To be in contention for most American film awards all that is often required is that a film receives some sort of theatrical release in NY and Los Angeles before being released for home consumption. "I want to give them an abundance of films (to watch)". But France has an absurd law, meant to protect movie theatres from online competition, requiring that movies be kept off of subscription streaming services for thirty-six months after their theatrical release.

But, in a country where movies shown in cinemas can not be streamed for three years, Netflix refused to arrange distribution across France - meaning "Okja", starring Tilda Swinton and Jake Gyllenhaal, and "The Meyerowitz Stories", with Ben Stiller and Dustin Hoffman, will not be seen on the big screen after their Cannes premiere.

Smith and Almodovar are joined on this year's Cannes Film Festival jury by Jessica Chastain, filmmaker Paolo Sorrentino, German writer/director Maren Ade, French movie composer Gabriel Yared, and Chinese actress Fan Bingbing. The movie has been slated for a June 29 release locally as it hits the streaming service in 190 countries on June 28.

The French Federation of Film Distributors said Netflix's presence at Cannes "is endangering a whole ecosystem".

This year was the first time the festival backed on its policy to only shortlist movies which could premiere in French cinemas.

His children, Jaden and Willow Smith, "go to the movies twice a week and they watch Netflix". That's been much easier to do with television, but film has been harder to crack.

Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said Cannes should live up to its core mission of "celebrating arts" regardless of platform.

But Smith, who is making his first appearance on the jury and will star in a Netflix film later this year, disagreed. Wonderful film that theatre chains want to block us from entering into Cannes film festival competition, said Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix.

"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". "I have a small role in John Cameron Mitchell's film and then Jane Campion's with a supporting role".

During a press conference Wednesday with the competition jury members, jury president Pedro Almodovar read a prepared statement in which he dismissed Netflix films as viable contenders for festival's coveted Palme d'Or award.

That seemed to be the last word - until Smith chimed in a few minutes later, launching into a defense of Netflix, as it related to the viewing habits of his three kids.

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