Movies | May 19, 2017 12:36 pm

Cannes Film Festival Cine-Snobs Give Thumbs Down to Netflix

Controversy reigns over the streaming site's place at the prestigious festival.

Jury members Jessica Chastain, Will Smith and President of the jury Pedro Almodovar at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival.
Jury members Jessica Chastain, Will Smith and President of the jury Pedro Almodovar attend the Jury photocall during the 70th annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 17, 2017 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

Netflix is leaving an acrid taste in the mouths of cinephiles at the largest film festival in the world, the BBC reports.

The company’s inaugural foray into the Cannes Film Festival got off to a rocky start last night after audience members reportedly booed the Netflix title card at the premiere of Bong Joon-ho’s Okja.

The animosity wasn’t confined to Netflix — Amazon’s titled card was reportedly also booed by a smaller audience at the premiere of Todd Haynes’ Wonderstruck — and gives insight into how many filmmakers and festival-goers still hold traditional beliefs about where and when movies should be released and consumed.

It’s an issue of legitimacy that Will Smith and esteemed director Pedro Almodóvar traded barbs over; Almodóvar sits on the jury with Smith, Jessica Chasten and Paolo Sorrentino, and gave a passionate defense of cinema during the festivals opening press conference.

“All this doesn’t mean I’m not open, or don’t celebrate the new technology and the possibilities they offer to us.

“But while I’m alive, I will be fighting for the one thing the new generation is not aware of – the capacity of hypnosis of a large screen for a viewer,” Almodóvar said.

Smith didn’t agree with his sentiments.

“There’s very little cross between going to the cinema and watching what they watch on Netflix,” he mused, saying they were “two different forms of entertainment” and that Netflix “brings a great amount of connectivity.”

“In my home, Netflix has been nothing but an absolute benefit. (They) watch films they otherwise wouldn’t have seen. It has broadened my children’s global cinematic comprehension.”