Will Smith, Almodovar open a testy Cannes Film Festival

Will Smith, Almodovar open a testy Cannes Film Festival

Only Korea, US and the United Kingdom will have theatrical release.

"The size of the screen should not be smaller than the chair you're sitting in".

"Set in and around Calais as the refugee crisis grows, the film is certainly not short of political relevancy", said Irish Times critic Donald Clarke, who reckons this year's line-up is "the most promising in a decade".

He added: "In my home, Netflix has had absolutely no effect on what they go to the movie theater to watch, go to the cinema to be humbled by certain images and stay home for others - no cross".

The festival jury is headed by Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar, while jury members include actors Will Smith and Jessica Chastain.

Smith launched a spirited defence of Netflix, saying it "broadens my children's cinematic global comprehension". In my house Netflix has been nothing but an absolute benefit because they get to watch films that they never would have seen.

When Netflix got two films into Cannes this year, Boon Joon-Ho's "Ojka" and Noah Baumbach's "The Meyerowitz Stories", it seemed like a big step forward for the company, which has repeatedly clashed with movie theaters over its commitment to make movies available online the same day they appear in theaters. Netflix brings a great connectivity for them to the world.

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.

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The ruling could mean trouble for Netflix and similar online distributors, which normally don't show their movies in theatres (Netflix did a limited release for Beasts of No Nation to qualify if for some U.S. awards, and Amazon's Manchester by the Sea did well at the Oscars, partially thanks to its theatrical release).

"West Philadelphia is a long way from Cannes", joked an enthusiastic Smith, referring to his hometown. This is also the first festival held since the truck attack in nearby Nice killed 86 people last June.

With his shock of grey hair and bright red sunglasses, Pedro Almodovar cut quite the distinctive figure as he led his jury members into their first official press conference.

Festival organizers have said everything has been done to maintain a balance of safety and the celebratory atmosphere of the world's most prestigious film festival. "Like Carol two years ago, The Killing of a Sacred Deer shows that Greater Cincinnati is the home to world-class cinema".

A festival spokeswoman said the measures were to "guarantee the festival-goers' optimal security" while "taking care not to disrupt" the event.

Italian actress Monica Bellucci will host the gala opening ceremony on Wednesday night, with French drama "Ismael's Ghosts", starring Marion Cotillard, as the opening film.

"The Festival de Cannes is aware of the anxiety aroused by the absence of the release in theatres of those films in France", the statement added.

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