Netflix barred from competing at Cannes

Film festival head Theirry Fremaux, on allowing two Netflix films in the Palme d’Or competition last year:

“Last year, when we selected these two films, I thought I could convince Netflix to release them in cinemas. I was presumptuous, they refused.”


At the time, Netflix tried to secure temporary permits to screen the films for less than a week in France, day-and-date to their online releases. That move wasn’t permitted because of France’s strict chronology laws and the two sides couldn’t reach an agreement.

As a result, the festival has changed the rules to require theatrical release in France.


“We have to take into account the existence of these powerful new players: Amazon, Netflix and maybe soon Apple.”

The film industry is changing rapidly. The movie Unsane is in theaters right now. It was filmed exclusively using iPhones, no film cameras involved.

Netflix is being barred from Cannes competition because they do not show their films in theaters. Why not prohibit Unsane because it was not truly “filmed”? To me, this move shows Cannes as a purist, for sure, but also shows Cannes as a festival rooted in the past.