70th Cannes Film Festival opens amid heavy security

70th Cannes Film Festival opens amid heavy security

70th Cannes Film Festival opens amid heavy security

After including two Netflix titles - Noah Baumbach's The Meyerowitz Stories and Bong Joon-ho's Okja - among those contending for the Palme d'Or this year, Cannes reversed course with a new rule announced last week.

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.

Iranian animated piece "Release from Heaven" by Ali Noori Oskouei will also have its market premier May 22 as opening film of Animation Day in Cannes film festival.

Farhadi collected his Oscar statuette Wednesday in France, via producer Alexandre Mallet-Guy. Among the European filmmakers competing this year are Karel Mundruczo from Hungary (whose "The White God" won the main prize in the "Un Certain Regard" section three years ago), Fatih Akın from Germany, a Turkish-origin filmmaker who has received worldwide acclaim for his films "Head-On", "Crossing the Bridge", "Soul Kitchen", "Solino", "In July" and "The Edge of Heaven", Scottish director Lynee Ramsay ("Morven Callar" and "We need to talk about Kevin"), Swedish director Ruben Östlund ("Force Majeure"), Greek director Yorgos Lathimos ("The Lobster"), Ukraine's Sergei Loznitsa and Russia's Andrey Zvyagintsiv.

He added: "I personally don't perceive the Palme d'Or [should be] given to a film that is then not seen on the big screen".

"So I am excited to be here, more than anything to learn", he told a news conference alongside other members of the jury that will decide which film wins the Palme d'Or award on May 28. Cannes last week responded to the furor by saying that from 2018 on, all films wishing to compete will have to commit to a French theatrical release. "The screen should not be smaller than the chair on which you're sitting. It should not be part of your everyday setting", he added to applause from his audience.

Will Smith, another member of the competition jury and star of the Netflix film Bright, came to the streaming distributor's defense.

Smith described Netflix in his home as an "absolute benefit." Why?

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However from next year, films will have to be released in French cinemas if they want to be considered. And now they get to find those artists and they get to look them up online and they make contact.

With France still under a state of emergency due to a raft of Islamist attacks, Cannes 2017 - the festival's 70th outing - will be under tighter security than ever, but that will not dampen spirits, according to the Hollywood Reporter's Scott Roxborough.

The Cannes competition jury - led by Pedro Almodovar - assembled in front of the press Wednesday before heading off for a week of screenings in darkened rooms, and Netflix's inclusion in the official selection was a hot topic of debate.

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.

The drama, which depicts the adventures of a girl, played by newcomer An Seo-hyun, from Gangwon Province and her best friend Okja, a mysterious animal that gets kidnapped by a powerful, multinational company, will hit Korean theaters on June 29 - the same date that it will become available in 190 countries through Netflix. "Like Carol two years ago, The Killing of a Sacred Deer shows that Greater Cincinnati is the home to world-class cinema".

"Since Sept. 11, Cannes has ... maximized security measures", festival director Thierry Fremaux said in an interview.

Ahead of the premiere of "Ismael's Ghosts", Monica Bellucci presided over an opening ceremony that included a slight riff on the best picture envelope flub that concluded this year's Academy Awards ceremony.

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