Cannes: Clash as glitch hits Netflix premiere

The team behind the first of two controversial Netflix movies at the Cannes film festival in France defended working with the streaming giant.

Cannes: Clash as glitch hits Netflix premiere
Photo: AFP
British actress Tilda Swinton, a star and executive producer of the $50 million (44 million) creature feature “Okja”, pushed back at criticism from jury president Pedro Almodovar, who said Netflix was undermining world cinema with its focus on small screens and home entertainment.
Swinton said she regretted that the Spanish filmmaker had “to immediately nobble (sabotage) some who have been invited to the party” by appearing to indicate on the festival's opening day that neither of the Netflix contenders should take home a prize.

“But the truth is we didn't actually come here for prizes — we came to show this film to the Cannes film festival and people who gathered here from all over the world,” Swinton told reporters.
“It's all an evolutionary process and Netflix has given (“Okja” director) Bong Joon-Ho the chance to make this absolutely liberated vision a reality and for that I am so grateful.”
The streaming giant has refused to show both its films in the running for the Palme d'Or top prize in French cinemas, sparking a bitter row which overshadowed the start of the world's top film festival.
After his initial bombshell, Almodovar walked back the comments Fridaytelling US movie website Indiewire that he had been “misunderstood”. 
“Not me nor any member in the jury will make any distinction between the two Netflix films and the rest of the films in competition,” he was quoted as saying.
“We're here to judge artistically the 19 movies that the festival has selected.”

Curtain malfunction

Friday morning's screening of “Okja” in the festival's main Palais theatre got off to a rocky start,
beginning with a late start due to heightened security measures including airport-style metal detectors and intensive bag searches.
When the lights finally went down, the appearance of the red Netflix logo sparked boos and then cheers from some in the notoriously boisterous Cannes audience.

Then a curtain malfunction hid the top part of the screen — including a good portion of Swinton's head — in the opening scenes.
The crowd booed, whistled, jeered and clapped for several minutes to catch the attention of theatre technicians, who eventually fixed the problem and started the movie again from the beginning. 
“Cannes making an A+ case for the primacy of the cinema experience this AM,” the Daily
Telegraph film critic Robbie Collin tweeted dryly.
Red-faced organisers later released a statement taking the blame and apologising “to the director and his team, to the producers as well as to the audience”.

21st century 'E.T.'

Bong Joon-Ho won fans worldwide for his 2006 monster blockbuster “The Host”. He followed up with his first Hollywood film, 2012's “Snowpiercer”, also starring Swinton.

“Okja”, touted as a 21st century “E.T.”, is about a young country girl who tries to save her best friend, a giant pig genetically engineered by an unscrupulous multinational company.
The film, which takes rampant capitalism and environmental destruction to task and boasts Brad Pitt as co-producer, drew warm applause after the ill-fated screening, as its South Korean director tried to tamp down the Netflix row.

“I loved working with Netflix — they gave me great support and the budget for the film is considerable. That is unusual for a director,” he said.
“I had total liberty — they never intervened, they truly respected me from beginning to end.”

Hollywood actor Jake Gyllenhaal, who co-stars in the film as the hysterical TV host of a nature programme, defended streaming as the easiest way to get adventurous movies to the biggest possible audience worldwide.

“I think it's truly a blessing when any art gets to reach one person, let alone hundreds of thousands upon millions of people,” he said.
Netflix's second Cannes competition entry, “The Meyerowitz Stories” with Adam Sandler, Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson and Ben Stiller, will premiere Sunday.

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Cannes Film Festival postponed to July due to Covid

The Cannes Film Festival has been rescheduled for July 6th to 17th - postponed by around two months due to the ongoing virus crisis, organisers said on Wednesday.

Cannes Film Festival postponed to July due to Covid
The 2018 Palme d'Or winner Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-Eda posing for the cameras at the Cannes Film Festival, is an annual highlight for movie lovers in France. Photo: AFP

“As announced last autumn, the Festival de Cannes reserved the right to change its dates depending on how the global health situation developed,” they said in a statement.

“Initially scheduled from 11th to 22nd May 2021, the Festival will therefore now take place from Tuesday 6th to Saturday 17th July 2021.”

The festival was cancelled last year, while rival European events in Berlin and Venice went ahead under strict health restrictions.

The Berlin Film Festival, which usually kicks off in February, said last month it would run this year's edition in two stages, an online offering for industry professionals in March and a public event in June.

France has closed all cinemas, theatres and show rooms alongside cafés, bars and restaurants as part of its Covid-19 health measures and the government has pushed back their reopening date until further notice due to rising levels of viral spread across the country.

The Cannes festival normally attracts some 45,000 people with official accreditations, of whom around 4,500 are journalists.

It had only been cancelled once before, due to the outbreak of war in 1939.

Its Film Market, held alongside the main competition, is the industry's biggest marketplace for producers, distributors, buyers and programmers.

Last year, the festival still made an official selection of 56 films – including the latest offerings from Wes Anderson, Francois Ozon and Steve McQueen – allowing them to use the “Cannes official selection” label.