Doing so could potentially rile local exhibitors who kicked up such a fuss the last time Cannes played Netflix films in Competition that the festival had to ban the streamer from competing for the Palme d’Or in future editions. Cannes says its Netflix ban is in place to protect the theatrical window.
The non-competitive Directors’ Fortnight section sits outside the parameters of the festival and is organized by the French Directors’ Guild. It prides itself on its “freedom of thinking” but inevitably it is also closely associated with the festival.
Babak Anvari’s mystery-drama Wounds stars Armie Hammer, Dakota Johnson and Zazie Beetz in the story of a bartender from New Orleans who begins to experience mysterious and disturbing things after he picks up a phone left behind at his bar. Anvari’s follow-up to acclaimed debut Under The Shadow launched earlier this year at Sundance. Netflix has international rights, including France. Annapurna’s United Artists Releasing has U.S. rights.
The film’s inclusion indicates that in his first year at the helm, new Directors’ Fortnight artistic director Paolo Moretti is prepared to risk the wrath of local exhibitors. We’ve recently seen exhibitor backlashes against Venice and Berlin for including Netflix movies in their lineups.
Cannes is the only major film festival not to allow Netflix’s films in its Competition. It has said the streamer can have non-competitive slots but that wasn’t palatable for the online titan. Netflix didn’t have any movies at the festival last year and is understood to have been reticent about its films even playing in Directors’ Fortnight due to its proximity to the festival.
However, Wounds‘ inclusion will be welcomed by filmmakers, many of whom have been frustrated that their movies made with Netflix can’t play at all on the Riviera. The streamer had previously suggested none of its movies would be ready for this year’s festival but Wounds counters that claim. Perhaps Netflix was only referring to its brand new movies.
The fiercely independent Directors’ Fortnight strand continues to throw up intriguing lineups. This year’s selection also includes films by Takashi Miike, Lav Diaz, Robert Eggers and Rebecca Zlotowski. It will open with French comedy Deerskin, starring Jean Dujardin (The Artist) and Adèle Haenel (BPM).
Last year’s lineup included Gaspar Noé’s Climax, Ciro Guerra and Cristina Gallego’s Birds Of Passage, and Mamoru Hosoda’s feature animation Mirai.
The section has previously showcased the work of heavyweights including De Niro, Scorsese, Werner Herzog, Jim Jarmusch, Spike Lee, Michael Haneke, the Dardenne brothers, Ken Loach, Chantal Akerman, Robert Bresson, Roger Corman, Nagisa Oshima, Susan Sontag and Bernardo Bertolucci.