70th Cannes Film Festival opens amid heavy security

70th Cannes Film Festival opens amid heavy security

Smith and Almodovar are joined on this year's Cannes Film Festival jury by Jessica Chastain, filmmaker Paolo Sorrentino, German writer/director Maren Ade, French movie composer Gabriel Yared, and Chinese actress Fan Bingbing.

This year, Cannes selected two Netflix releases - Bong Joon-ho's Okja and Noah Baumbach's The Meyerowitz Stories - for its Palme d'Or competition.

The company has refused to screen the two movies in French cinemas because of rules that mean films can not be streamed from subscription services in France until three years after their traditional box-office release.

Smith - who is starring in the Netflix film "Bright" later this year - chimed in later to defend the streaming service, suggesting that younger filmgoers don't see much of a distinction between watching a film in a theater and watching one at home. The size [of the screen] should not be smaller than the chair on which you're sitting. "It should not be part of your everyday setting", said the Spanish filmmaker.

Spanish director Pedro Almodovar is leading the jury charged with picking a victor among the 19 films vying for the coveted Palme d'Or top prize, on a panel that also includes Smith, "Interstellar" star Jessica Chastain, and Chinese actress Fan Bingbing. In my house, Netflix has been nothing but an absolute benefit, because they get to watch films that they never even would've seen.

"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".

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Last week festival organisers changed the rules to effectively ban Netflix films in future, insisting that movies in competition must be shown on the big screen in France. And now they get to find those artists and they look them up online and they make contact.

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

"West Philadelphia is a long way from Cannes", joked an enthusiastic Smith, referring to his hometown. France remains under a state of emergency since the November 2015 Paris attacks. Festival organizers have said everything was being done to maintain safety and the event's celebratory atmosphere.

Stars are arriving under tighter security than in previous years, 10 months after the truck attack in nearby Nice that killed 86 people. On Wednesday, the heightened measures were already causing something unthinkable at the stringently clockwork Cannes: slight delays at screenings and press conferences. "So we need to pay attention", festival director Thierry Fremaux said in an interview.

The festival runs from May 17 to 28 and opened with Arnaud Desplechin's Ismael's Ghosts.

Others in the running for top honours include Happy End, another film set against the backdrop of the migrant crisis by Amour director Michael Haneke, who is seeking a record-breaking third Palme d'Or.

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