Netflix may be an extremely popular service for watching films, but the old guard of critics and film institutions haven’t taken to it. With the company making a push into producing exclusive films, a lot of walls are starting to be erected to keep Netflix original content out of competitions. According to a report from Variety, despite on-going negotiations with the Cannes Film Festival, Netflix will not have any films present in or out of the competition this year.
This comes off the back of the drama last year over the Alfonso Cuarón film Roma, which resulted in Netflix pulling out of Cannes and screening the film at the Venice Film Festival (where it would win a Golden Lion award). As Variety writes, the main point of contention is that the nature of Netflix makes films available immediately on the service. The old way of doing things was to have a 36-month wait before putting a film on streaming services, completely disregarding anything to do with the actual quality of the film.
This is the same crap we’ve seen Steven Spielberg come out about recently. This is more about an institution or creator believing their way is the only way and that all other methods are invalid. No one involved actually cares about the message of the film they are showing, more that their theater has exclusive rights to showcase said film. Cannes wants to uphold an outdated clause simply because it believes people need to see a movie in its overpriced establishment.
While they are certainly allowed to do so, I think we should be shifting the discussion more to the quality of said films than the way in which we view them. Just because I’m not in an overcrowded movie theater doesn’t mean I won’t be able to connect to the message being shown to me. There’s also the fact that the area I live in does not screen films that are outside of the mainstream. I’d never see these movies if not for services like Netflix.
So if Netflix won’t be present at Cannes, then so be it. It’s not like every film playing during the festival is actually worth watching, anyway.