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,


“Undermined: tales from the Kimberley” and MIFF

Just like what I have talked about before, the relationship between film festival and the politics not only constructs the film festival’s meaning but also spreads its influence. In this case, the film festival became an expressing channel which collects the public attention and gives the stage to the people who need help. Sometimes its practical significance might be more significant than its artistic value. By screening “Undermined: tales from the Kimberley” and inviting the production team and the representative, MIFF provide platform and opportunity for the aboriginal to express themselves.


Documentary “Undermined: tales from the Kimberley” has more practical significance than artistic value. From the practical side, “Undermined: tales from the Kimberley” not only expresses the aboriginal’s appeal but also explain their situation to the audience who originally have no knowledge about them. The movie explains that aboriginal communities are suffering from the threat of mining and modern agriculture industry’s expanding at Kimberley. Modern industry has the impact on both their daily life and their traditional culture. Conflicts exist everywhere from the confrontation towards the government to the changing of next generation. Some aboriginals even have to leave their homeland. Apart from only using the drastic shots to attract audience’s attention, the director spends more time to show what is their original life and the painful change gradually which might be more effective for the audience to take actions about Kimberley. Through the “Kimberley project” website, the donation amount and the information behind the movie also show how ‘smart’ is the aboriginals’ self-rescue method (Documentary Australia Foundation 2018). The film almost relies on donation and they have clear objectives about the movie’s impact and the whole project which could be a constructive example for other communities who need help.


Screening “Undermined: tales from the Kimberley” at MIFF shows justice. People can easily understand the unfair treatment of aboriginals in Kimberley. By providing screening platform, inviting production team and representative, MIFF shows its social responsibility. Rawls (2005) mentions two principles of justice which include that bring the most advantages to the people who has the least advantages in the society. Similarly, MIFF leaves the stage for the aboriginal community and support their activities. This is not the first time when the film festival shows justice and support the disadvantaged groups. In 1974, movie “Histoire d’A” cannot be screened during Cannes Film Festival due to its abortion content. To stop the screening, the government even scattered the audience. At that time French Society of Film Directors helped people to screen it (Cannes 2013). In the past, some supports seem more intense.


Reference list:


Cannes, M 2013. From anecdote to legend – Cannes,, viewed 15 September 2018,


Documentary Australia Foundation 2018, Documentary Australia Foundation | Film | Undermined – Tales from the Kimberley,, viewed 15 September 2018,


Rawls, J 2005, A theory of justice, Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press.


Film subtitle translation over-entertainment and localization in China

When foreign films screen in China, subtitle could be regarded as the bridge which links the audience and the movie. As one of the carriers of culture, the projection could also be seen as a communication from two culture. In this process, subtitle plays a significant role which might also have the effect on commercial aspect.


The concept of ‘translation as rewrite’ shows the importance of subtitle. Lefevere (2016) indicates that translation is a kind of rewriting and every type of rewriting reflects ideology and poetics which lead to some effect in the certain area. To apply it in this case, the people who have the ability to translate foreign films officially have the certain education background and might be restrained by other powerful groups (such as investor, sponsor and relevant government departments). Therefore, the subtitle translation is not processing literally in a vacuum. It is rewriting in the cultural aspect which services both ideology, art and literature. Moreover, some changes in subtitle ‘rewriting’ are unconsciously due to its ‘nature of service’.


The commonest subtitle translation problem in China is over-entertainment and localization. In the past, subtitle translation usually follows the original lines which means that the translators try their best to mention the same element and make lit sounds like the same meaning. If it is hard to mention exactly the same thing, the thing in the same category and Chinese four-character idiom might be used. However, Chinese four-character idiom sometimes sounds outdated or far away from the audience live due to its classical structure. Therefore, the translators now are tending to use buzzword which might be closer to the original meaning and sounds humorous but ignores the literature logic. It can be understood when traditional translation cannot satisfy the current demand. But when the translators start to chasing humor and sense translation, they add new Chinese gag, Chinese reference, and buzzword to replace the original reference and gag in the film. It is easy enough to guess that the translators are trying to shorten the distance between the audience and the movie in their ways. Localization probably means higher ticket revenues in their opinion. Such as ‘We can do that funk and groove dance thing’ in ‘Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted’ has been translated into ‘let’s act as a couple. Just like Xiao Shenyang and participate in the ‘Avenue of Stars’!’ (Xiao Shenyang is a Chinese gag man and ‘Avenue of Stars’ is similar to Chinese version Got Talent). Another typical example exists in ‘Man in Black III’. ‘Lonelier too, since you’re the last Bogladyte standing’ has been translated into classic Chinese poem form: ‘heaven and earth have an end but this hate hasn’t’. The reference they add could be not only from China but also Asian range. The protagonist of Japanese cartoon ‘Saint Seiya’ has a unique skill called ‘Pegasus RyuSeiKen’ which also existed in the translation of ‘Pacific Rim’ to replace ‘ElbowRocket’ (they both use the arm to hit). Although the translator’s intention is to explain the meaning, sometimes they make it more complicated and lose the point.


Reference list:


Lefevere, A 2016, Translation, rewriting, and the manipulation of literary fame.


Film festivals and politics

Film festivals, especially those three most prestigious film festivals are always related to politics due to the artistry of movie and the film festivals’ historical background. Each stage in the procession of movie production is closely tied to people’s economic, cultural, political conditions. Kracauer (2004) asserts that movie can present the psychological states of a nation more directly and intuitively than other art forms. When it comes to the film festival, the presenting function unquestionably magnified.


The worldview which delivered by film festival effects the ideology construction of the world. Kracauer (2004) brings the example of the German movie industry which could also support this idea. After World War II, a great number of art practitioners left German and the soft power of German experienced a decline with the Cold War. Facing the strong popular culture impact from America, France became a spreading center of Europe elite culture. With the Cold War background, film festival became one of the few international cultural exchanges (such as the Olympic Games) at that time. Moreover, comparing to the Olympic Games, film festivals have less adversarial nature but more communication. In addition, film festivals’ gatekeeper function contributes to the construction of new aesthetical standard and new tendency. Cannes, Berlin, and Venice to some extent represent the culture intervention to the world order from Europe.


Similar to the Nobel prize, those three film festivals as the appraise and elect of art, are not only about the art itself. Social ideology, political environment, even national sentiments are all included. For example, the shadow of Mussolini shrouded Venice Film Festival for 8 years and as a result of that Cannes Film Festival was established by the angry film practitioner. From the 1950s, the amicable attitude towards Japanese movies in somehow improved Japan’s international image.


The relationship between politics and film festivals is one of the reasons why Cannes, Berlin, and Venice are the most prestigious film festivals in the world. Different from Hollywood’s universal commercial releasing network, a value system which utilizes Europe elite class worldview as main interpretation spreads their idea of superstructure. For instance, the Cannes Film Festival which basically establishes the mode of modern film festival. France government support the festival officially and FIAPF (International Federation of Film Producers Associations) which based in Paris also make a contribution. By contrast, FIAPF recognized Berlin International Film Festival as a festival with ‘A’ status after Berlinale have been established 5 years later. This comparison indicates that the film festival ‘s political aspect is not only about the ideology but also geopolitics.



Reference list:

Kracauer, S 2004, From Caligari to Hitler, Princeton: Princeton U.P.