Things are getting kind of heated between Netflix and the Cannes Film Festival this year. As of last year the rule that made it impossible for any Netflix films to be considered for awards in the Cannes Film Festival have influenced the streaming giant’s decision to not allow any of its films to be showcased at the 2018 festival. Netflix films have been banned on the premise that they will not be released in French movie theaters, and therefore will not be eligible for the festival. Yet the festival would gladly make use of the films for entertainment purposes despite the obvious snub. In other words, ‘you may entertain us but you’ll never be given an award for it’. The festival director might as well be spitting in Netflix’s face at this point.
The idea to withhold its films is still a fluid one on Netflix’s part since they’re currently waiting for the lineup to be revealed on the 12th to see just what actions they’ll take. But if the rule stands and the lineup isn’t to their liking it seems very likely that they’ll take their metaphorical ball and go home. And unfortunately for the Cannes Film Festival they’d be totally justified in doing so as a lot of people seem to think. You’ve got to imagine that someone has already asked whether or not Netflix is available in France. The answer is that yes, it is available there, but is still not reporting the subscription numbers after having been available to the country for a while now. There are a few reasons this might be so, one of them being that Europeans and Americans tend to have a very different opinion of what is considered high culture and what is not. This has been a continuing debate for a lot of years since obviously France is a great deal older than the US and still tends to think that they have a much more refined sense of style and artistic integrity. it might be true, but it’s still not much of a reason to exclude Netflix from the running.
Rule Four however explicitly denies any film that’s been released on the Internet, which disqualifies Netflix immediately since it is internet-based. The rule is basically targeting Netflix, which is not only petty but foolish since in reality it shows the short-sighted manner of the festival’s director and the petty nature of those that complained last year how two films from Netflix that were entered seemed poised to beat out any local films. Can you hear the violins playing? Overall this is kind of a despicable thing to do to anyone but it’s okay, Netflix will survive as it has a great number of subscribers and other ways of promoting its movies. While the Cannes Film Festival might not be going anywhere for a while this kind of exclusionary practice seems poised to do some damage to its credibility after a while and possibly show people that it’s less about the films than it is about who can whine the loudest.
Really, Netflix isn’t losing out on much by being banned from competing at Cannes.