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Cannes is wrong about Netflix – good films don’t just belong in cinemas

Netflix's film Okja will be screened in competition at this year's Cannes Film Festival Credit:  Jae Hyuk Lee

For a brief moment, Cannes dipped its toes into the 21st century. It was shocked to learn how quickly the currents were moving, and now the venerable film festival has crawled back from the water’s edge and is anxiously towelling itself off.

Eyebrows were raised last month at the news that two Netflix films would feature in this year’s Cannes competition strand: The Meyerowitz Stories, a comedy with Ben Stiller, and Okja, starring Tilda Swinton. After a similar breakthrough last year for Amazon (which also has two films at Cannes this year), it seemed like the festival was finally waking up to the changes online streaming has made to film.

But the decision enraged The Federation of French Cinemas (FNCF), as neither of the Netflix films will be given a cinema release in France. A U-turn swiftly followed. Last week, the festival board held a meeting where they reportedly discussed pulling both...

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