70th Cannes Film Festival opens amid heavy security

Posted May 19, 2017

Spanish director Pedro Almodovar is leading the jury charged with picking a victor among the 19 films vying for the coveted Palme d'Or top prize, on a panel that also includes Smith, "Interstellar" star Jessica Chastain, and Chinese actress Fan Bingbing.

The Cannes Film Festival begins next Wednesday, and this year's in-competition slate isn't promising; if directors' past performance is any predictor (and sometimes it isn't), only a few of the main-slate films are likely to hold any enduring interest.

Smith is a member of this year's festival jury, which also includes Jessica Chastain, Paolo Sorrentino and Park Chan-wook.

There are 12 female-directed films in this year's 54-strong official selection, including three in competition.

Andrzej Wajda's feature "Man of Iron", which focuses on the birth of the Solidarity movement, is one of 16 history-making films which are to be shown as part of celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the Cannes Festival. But Almodovar, a Cannes regular, drew applause for his defense of the theatrical experience.

The controversy first stemmed from the fact that the rules of Cannes have not caught up to the way movies are released on a service like Netflix; mainly, that they aren't released in theaters. Netflix, along with Amazon, has been an increasingly powerful player at film festivals, actively acquiring films and using festivals as glitzy worldwide launchpads for its movies.

"At its best, the movie is a freewheeling gambit, hurtling in multiple directions at once, and it's thrilling to watch Desplechin try juggle them all". Besides the The Meyerowitz Stories later in May and Okja in June, Netflix will this month debut War Machine starring Brad Pitt, in December Bright starring Will Smith, and many more. In my house Netflix has been nothing but an absolute benefit because they get to watch films that they never would have seen.

"So they have to find a French exhibitor willing to do a day-and-date vanity release or bow out of future Competition involvement?" asked Charlie Lyne, the director of the documentaries Being Clueless and Fear Itself.

Smith, who has not had a film play at Cannes before, was dapperly dressed and cheerfully posing with festival-goers who screamed "Will!"

Looking dashing in black tux, Smith joked about his hometown to a group of festival goers, saying, "West Philadelphia is a long way from Cannes".

Security was greater than ever at the French festival, with stepped up efforts to restrict access and even an anti-drone system.

With France still under a state of emergency due to a raft of Islamist attacks, Cannes 2017 - the festival's 70th outing - will be under tighter security than ever, but that will not dampen spirits, according to the Hollywood Reporter's Scott Roxborough.

The movie will enjoy a full release in Korea, but as for North American and European releases, only select theaters in the US and United Kingdom will offer screenings, according to Ted Sarandos, Netflix chief content officer, during a press conference held at Four Seasons Hotel in Jongno District, central Seoul, on Monday.

Three years ago European Parliament had backed a motion urging anti-trust regulators to get tough on Google.

The jurors will have to pick from 19 films in the running for the prestigious Palme d'or on 28 May.