Will Smith Comes to the Defense of Netflix at Cannes

Reece Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley and Nicole Kidman star in Big Little Lies

In what has been considered a watershed moment for the streaming service, it has two films competing for the Palme d'Or at the 70th edition of the festival. To have screened the film in French cinemas after the festival as Cannes officials requested would have started that clock ticking.

Almodovar, a longtime Cannes regular, is president of the jury that will decide the Palme d'Or. Further, more than a few of the films that won their year's Palme d'Or have gone on to secure nominations for best picture or best foreign language film at the Academy Awards.

Actress Marion Cotillard, left, and Charlotte Gainsbourg pose for photographers during the photo call for the film Ismael's Ghosts, at the 70th worldwide film festival, Cannes, southern France, Tuesday, May 16, 2017.

Elsewhere at the festival, veteran British actress Vanessa Redgrave unveiled on Wednesday her first film as a director - "Sea Sorrow", a documentary about Europe's migrant crisis.

Spanish director Almodovar told reporters at Cannes that it would be "an enormous paradox if the Palme d'Or went to a film that can not be seen in cinemas".

Jury president Pedro Almodovar, the Spanish director who has been in competition at Cannes four times, said he hoped to discover what he described as a cinematic miracle. The size should not be smaller than the chair on which you're 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".

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The "Hitch" star said: "My children go to the movies twice a week and they watch Netflix". In my house, Netflix has been nothing but an absolute benefit, because they get to watch films that they never even would've seen.

Netflix, which streams films and television shows to subscribers, has two of the hottest movies in contention for the Palme d'Or - its first time in competition at the festival that France boasts is the greatest in the world. And now they get to find those artists and they get to look them up online and they make contact.

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

"West Philadelphia is a long way from Cannes", said Smith, referring to the scrappy neighborhood in the northeastern US city where he grew up.

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

Also supplying the star power on Wednesday was Marion Cotillard, who stars alongside Charlotte Gainsbourg in French director Arnaud Desplechin's Ismael's Ghosts, which premiere on opening night.

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