Cannes Film Festival and Netflix

The fight between the Cannes Film Festival and Netflix can be regarded as a question about film distribution with new media stage. Film festival as a significant ‘intermediary agent’ in the film industry, seems to show a conservative attitude to the media streaming service. However, this attitude might also link to a geographical cultural competition


Netflix not only brings increasing revenue for the film industry from new screening method but also has impact on theatre screening. Due to Netflix’s operation mode, the nature of the movie might be changed with a different medium. The films from Netflix existed at the Cannes Film Festival last year. Netflix as an online media streaming service provider tends to stream their films online synchronously which challenged relevant French regulations. As the result of that, Netflix films cannot take part in the competition award. (Chiu 2018).

There is a view that Netflix movies can be watched on television or mobile devices’ screen which is totally different from film aesthetics (Mattes 2018). In addition, seeing films in the theatre provides the feeling of ritual which is also a group activity (Mattes 2018). However, without theatre screening, these characteristics will disappear in Netflix films which generates another question about movie and streaming method: Does the screen size affect the nature of movie when multiple movie-watching media become development tendency?


The conflict between Cannes Film Festival and Netflix also shows a glance of geographical cultural competition. That is not to say that Cannes do not want American films to achieve box office hit in France or Netflix films really have impact on the French film market. The point is ‘French culture exception’ which requires that the films should share a part of their revenue to support the French film industry and follows the delay of online streaming (Donadio 2017). Unfortunately, films from Netflix cannot meet the requirements due to its operation mode. Different from American film industry, the French market has a more conservative attitude. Watching movies in the cinema seems more valuable than through the mobile screen. In Documentary “Visages, villages” which specially screen at Cannes Film Festival indicates that French workers treat watching movies as cultural ties. From American side, watching movies is more like personal entertainment. The deputy CEO of the CNC (the National Centre for Cinema and the Moving Image) asserts that Netflix represents ‘American cultural imperialism’ (Donadio 2017). This definition could easily remind people about the relationship between the three most prestigious film festival and Hollywood. The antagonistic relations of Europe elite culture and American popular culture in the past are now turning to technical and commercial aspects.


Reference list:


Chiu, A 2018, Cannes Film Festival bans Netflix films from competition. Also, no more selfies, Washington Post, viewed 15 September 2018,


Donadio, R 2017, Why the Netflix-Cannes Clash Couldn’t Be Avoided,,


Mattes, A 2018, Cannes is right, Netflix movies just aren’t the same, The Conversation, viewed 16 September 2018,


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