At the press conference introducing this years festival jury, its president, Birdman and The Revenant director Alejandro Gonzlez Irritu, took aim at Trump and offered support to theatre chains battling the dominance of the streaming service. Another jury member, Happy as Lazzaro director Alice Rohrwacher, criticised the film industry for failing to promote female film-makers.
Irritu, the first Mexican-born president of the Cannes jury, expressed concern at the rise of populist politicians including Trump and said that his presence at the festival served as a repudiation for the US presidents anti-immigrant policies.
These guys are ruling with rage and anger, Irritu said. They are writing fiction and making people believe those things are real. The fact that we are here is a statement in itself.
We know how this story ends if we keep with this rhetoric, he added, alluding to the outbreak of the second world war.
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The director also spoke out against the erosion of the theatrical experience at the hands of streaming services. Cinema was born to be experienced communally. I have nothing against watching on a phone, iPad, computer. But its not the same as having experienced [it in a cinema]. One should not cancel the other.
France is an exception in that they protect that. This is one of the last spaces where we can experience these films around the world, he said.
Irritus words will have been welcomed by Cannes executives, who have had a fractious recent relationship with Netflix. For the second year in a row no Netflix titles will screen at the festival, with the streaming service maintaining a boycott in the wake of a Cannes rule-change excluding films from competition that fail to adhere to the French practice of waiting three years between cinema and streaming releases.
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