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Will Smith, Almodovar open a testy Cannes Film Festival

19 May 2017, 08:58 | Winston Chapman

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A view of the Palais De Festival prior to the start of the 70th worldwide film festival, Cannes, southern France, Monday, May 15, 2017. Cannes has fought back by saying Netflix, which is in the Palme competition for the first time this year, won't be allowed into the 2018 festival unless it changes its policy.

It's team of 80 photographers, videographers, editors and technicians will put in over 15,000 hours during the festival, making it one of the company's biggest annual editorial operations. Jury members Jessica Chastain, right, and Will Smith greet each other upon arrival at the photo call for the Jury at the 70th worldwide film festival, Cannes, southern France, Tuesday, May 16, 2017.

Spanish director Almodovar told reporters at Cannes that it would be "an enormous paradox if the Palme d'Or went to a film that can not be seen in cinemas".

A hopeful start to a light and entertaining festival!

Iran is represented at Cannes this year by "A Man of Integrity" directed by Mohammad Rasoulof in the Un Certain Regard section, "24 Frames" by Abbas Kiarostami in the 70th anniversary events, "Lunch Time" by Alireza Ghasemi in the short film section, and "Animal" by Bahman and Bahram Ark in the Cinéfondation section, which focuses on films made by students at film schools.

When this year's Cannes jury roster was announced, there was really only one head scratcher in the bunch: Will Smith.

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The online giant has refused to release its two movies in the running for the Palme d'Or to French theatres, sparking a huge row that threatens to overshadow the world's top film festival, which officially kicks off its 70th birthday edition late yesterday.

"So I am excited to be here, more than anything to learn", he told a news conference alongside other members of the jury that will decide which film wins the Palme d'Or award on May 28. But this does not mean that I am not open and I do not respect and celebrate the new technologies and the possibilities that they offer us.

The Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown director said he could not conceive the Palme d'Or - or any other prize - "being given to a film and then not being able to see the film on a big screen". "There's very little cross between going to the cinema and watching what they watch on Netflix". "The size [of the screen] should not be smaller than the chair on which you're sitting".

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. "It should not be part of your everyday setting", he added to applause from his audience. "You must be small and humble in front of the image that's here".

The "Hitch" star said: "My children go to the movies twice a week and they watch Netflix". Netflix brings a great connectivity for them to the world. "It's does nothing but broaden my children's cinematic global comprehension".

"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.



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