the french

Netflix Films Have Been Banned From Competing at Cannes

A scene from Okja, a Netflix film that competed at Cannes last year. Photo: Netflix

Well, merde. The Cannes Film Festival has broken up with Netflix, announcing that the streaming service is banned from submitting films to future competition lineups. Theirry Frémaux, the head of the festival, will still allow Netflix to show their films out of competition, though — it just means they won’t be eligible for awards recognition, like the Palme d’Or. “The Netflix people loved the red carpet and would like to be present with other films,” Frémaux said in an interview translated by THR. “But they understand that the intransigence of their own model is now the opposite of ours.”

The festival’s decision comes after they received a fair share of criticism for including Bong Joon-ho’s Okja and Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories in last year’s competition, which were both released on Netflix’s streaming platform as opposed to a traditional cinema setting. (In terms of narrative, both films were well-received.)

Frémaux admitted he was hoping Netflix would “bend” its streaming strategy to better adapt to film festival culture, but to no avail. “Last year, when we selected these two films, I thought I could convince Netflix to release them in cinemas,” he said. “I was presumptuous, they refused.” As such, Cannes changed its rules to require that all competing films have a theatrical release in France — and don’t expect the festival to budge on that. As Frémaux puts it: “The history of cinema and the history of the internet are two different things.”

Netflix Films Have Been Banned From Competing at Cannes