Will Smith, Almodovar open a testy Cannes Film Festival

Danny Woods
May 20, 2017

Farhadi collected his Oscar statuette Wednesday in France, via producer Alexandre Mallet-Guy.

Anticipation is also high for Carol director Todd Haynes' new film Wonderstruck, starring Michelle Williams and Julianne Moore, in which two stories told 50 years apart intertwine in a mysterious way, and Bong Joon-ho's monster movie Okja, made for Netflix and starring Gyllenhaal and Tilda Swinton.

The online giant has refused to release its two movies in the running for the Palme d'Or to French theatres, sparking a huge row that threatens to overshadow the world's top film festival, which officially kicks off its 70th birthday edition late yesterday.

Bong said he couldn't speak about specifics regarding the film but noted, "We all have our own perspective toward animals".

Actors including Will Smith, Agnès Jaoui, Jessica Chastain and Fan Bingbing are all part of this year's awards jury, which is presided over by director Pedro Almodóvar.

"In my opinion, what is decisive when one sees a film for the first time is the size of the screen: the size should not be smaller than the chair on which you are sitting".

"They go to the movie theater to be humbled in front of certain images and there's other films that they prefer to watch at home and there's really little to no cross".

Upcoming movie "Okja" has sparked heated debate about how films released nearly exclusively online will affect the film industry, but the film's visionary director, Bong Joon-ho, doubts platforms like Netflix will replace theaters. "But Netflix fully supported me", he said. In my home Netflix has been nothing but an absolute benefit - [they] watch films they otherwise wouldn't have seen. They go to the movies twice a week, and they watch Netflix. Netflix brings a great connectivity.

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Pedro Almodovar, president of the festival jury, has taken a break from posing for the photographers and chose to take a spot amongst them, being handed a camera and shot his way- until an official asked him to get back to his original duty.

Smith, who has not had a film play at Cannes before, was dressed dapperly and posing cheerfully with festival-goers screaming "Will!"

On a related note, Will Smith, also joked about his hometown to a group of festival goers saying, "West Philadelphia is a long way from Cannes".

Security was greater than ever at the French festival, which has stepped up efforts to restrict access, added more metal detectors and even introduced an anti-drone system.

Stars are arriving under tighter security than in previous years, 10 months after the truck attack in nearby Nice killed 86 people.

Sarandos said film festivals may be forced to adapt as more and more movies become available on platforms beyond traditional theaters. This year, Turkish cinema does not appear in any of the sections, except one title: Şerif Gören's "Yol" will be screened in the' Cannes Classics' section, among 16 masterpieces selected from the 69 years of the festival.

The festival runs from May 17-28 and will open with Arnaud Desplechin's Ismael's Ghosts. "Three movies a day is a lot!"

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