Cannes or Netflix? Is Netflix an acceptable remediation for Cannes’ decades-long little regard for Indian Cinema?

By Pickle  May 15, 2019
Cannes: “Netflix or not Netflix, Okja is a Cinema film, a Cinema product. Bong Joon-ho is a great contemporary director. He shows us a film, we like the film, we take the film.”

Netflix is both a haven and a trap for Indian filmmakers who have always been tempted by Cannes and international exposure. Tempted, and frustrated.

By Pierre Assouline

India?

Indian filmmakers have been totally ignored the past 25 years by Cannes’ Official Competition. Thus, their dilemma of ‘should I go with Netflix and loose out the possible Cannes boost’, is minor compared to filmmakers from countries with cultures better understood by Thierry Frémaux, the Festival General Delegate. His despising sarcastic reply to a Kolkata journalist asking why year after year India was missing from the Competition is hard to forget: “India? What am I supposed to answer? Perhaps that it is a great Cinema country?”.

Evoking the Un Certain Regard section, Frémaux stated: “The eye on India would focus on ‘New Gen’ films rather than offerings from Bollywood or Bengali cinema”. His comment lumping together Bollywood and Bengali films reveals that he is hardly aware of Indian Cinema,what to speak of Indian Culture. Setting ‘New Gen’ against Bengali Cinema shows he is in a time warp, still stuck in the Ray era. Aren’t Rituparno Ghosh, Kaushik Ganguly, or Qaushiq Mukherjee (Q) Bengali? How to categorize their films if not ‘New Gen’? Qaushiq Mukherjee’s (Q) cinema is even ‘New Gen’ within the ‘New Gen’.

Long-gone are the days of the charismatic Gilles Jacob who selected Shaji Karun’s Swaham in Competition and Vanaprastham in Official Selection.

Cannes’ Directors Club only

Although the politically correct 2019 press conference boasts “a balanced selection with the right assortment of stalwarts and newcomers”, the truth is that young directors are mostly considered only after securing all possible seats for “Cannes’ Directors Club members”, or, as Frémaux himself refers to them, the “Subscription Holders”: Ken Loach (returning for the 14th time!), the Dardenne brothers, Jim Jarmush, Marco Bellocchio, Arnaud Desplechin, Pedro Almodóvar, et al.

The danger is a declining Cannes Film Festival every year more detached from contemporary realities.

So, Netflix?

In 2017, Thierry Frémaux was proudly speaking about his selection of Okja- fully produced by Netflix. At that time, he never expressed the opinion that a film is not a film if not shown on the big screen. Quite the opposite. He stated: “Netflix or not Netflix, Okja is a Cinema film, a Cinema product. Bong Joon-ho is a great contemporary director. He shows us a film, we like the film, we take the film.”

In 2018, Frémaux sang a different tune. He excluded the Netflix film to which it is the hardest to deny the quality and title of Cinema: Roma, by Alfonso Cuaron. Why the one-eighty? The pressure of French film industry heavyweights, the very ones he owes his seat to? Not only.That exclusion reveals a Cannes’ rising awareness that Netflix is a threat to the very sustainability of its conservative model.

Far from being merely technical,the disagreement is not about the sacrosanct chronology of media in France which forbids an OTT platform to stream a film before 17 months following a theatrical release(hence Netflix’s refusal to allow any French theatrical exhibition for its productions). The rivalry is really all about both parties’ stubbornness to stand by their respective vision of what Cinema is.

The situation of “The other Side of the Wind”, an unfinished film by Orson Welles is a case in point.

Held hostage filmmakers

Filmmakers find themselves hostages of this power struggle. The situation of “The other Side of the Wind”,an unfinished film by Orson Welles is a case in point. After decades of knocking at studios’ doors, Welles’ daughter, Beatrice Welles-Smith, could still not complete the film. Finally, Netflix came to the rescue for full financing. But Netflix failed to back her dream of seeing her father being honored at Cannes for the final curtain of his cinematic career. Netflix, and not Cannes which has indeed proposed a special screening Out of Competition in Official Selection. Netflix turned down the offer, thus revealing a higher concern for the enforcement of the Netflix model rather than for any one of the titles it has funded.

Filmmakers never asked for a confrontation between the world’s largest Film Festival and the OTT giant. Their interest is not to have to choose. They want and may deserve both.

Netflix may not bestow Indian filmmakers’ work the glamour and prestige that Cannes has specialized in over the years (when not turned into a pitiless crushing machine), but they and other major OTTs make films available to millions. For the first time in history, Indian Cinema is being watched by a majority of non-diaspora global audience.

So, Cannes?

To indulge in a ‘The Fox and the Grapes’ attitude of “What cannot be had, you speak of badly” plays into the “us and they” mentality that is stifling the Cannes Festival at present. Cannes still has unique benefits. To belittle it as a relic of a past that is out of sync with the way cinema is watched today cannot be honest. Why then wouldn’t Indian filmmakers consider Netflix as a possible stepping-stone for a future Cannes-eligible feature film?

Even if series like Sacred Games (2 non-Indian viewers out of 3) surpass by far the D2C international capacity of feature films (an evaluation based on acquisitions and not yet on Originals), Indian feature filmmakers should grab the opportunity of content-thirsty Netflix and other competitive global or domestic OTT platforms. While at it, they can incidentally relish the creative freedom of swapping Kafkaesque CBFC whims for non-restrictive OTTs Best Practices code.

Cannes? Worry about it later.

Pierre Assouline, a producer in France and India with Selections and Awards including Competition in Venice, Competition and Jury Award in Locarno, Competition in Toronto, Official Selection in Cannes, National Award in India, Pierre Assouline currently works at establishing “The Uplifting Cinema Project”, a production slate of universal and uplifting films conveying India’s beauty to the world.

+33613215900
pierre@theupliftingcinemaproject.com

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Highlights



Gitanjali Rao’s Animation Feature Bombay Rose to open Critics’ Week at Venice International Film Festival

IFFI 50 & Fantastic-Lifetime Achievement Award to Isabelle Huppert

LATAM Market Ventana Sur from November 30

Blue Efficience Roped in For Ventana Sur

Films to watch @ Ventana Sur

India Rolls out Red Carpet to Foreign Filmmakers

Ramesh Sharma’s New Documentary Film on Gandhi at AFM

The Warrior Queen of Jhansi at AFM

AFM Brings Together Participants From 78 Countries

Pickle AFM 2020 Issue Editorial

With Film Visa, Global Producers Can Now Shoot in India

www.cinemarket.io – Buy, Sell & Engage

Embracing Cinema Through Screens of all Sizes

Nomadland wins People’s Choice at Toronto

MIPCOM 2020 Goes Entirely Online

South Korea will be MIPCOM 2020 country of honor

India, the Window of Opportunity

Get Ready for Hybrid IFFI

Film Making Centres of India

Get Your Film Take Wings at Virtual Film Bazaar

Make at least Ten co-productions in a year

Filmmakers Should Make use of India-Canada Treaty

TIFF: The Show and Business Goes on

Navigating Toronto Film Festival and Industry

Make in India, Show the World

Be Part of the Pickle India Focused Toronto Edition

ads2OTT set to Launch in Oct 2020

MovieSaints to release Memories of a Forgotten War

Truth Is Dead

Submissions Open For Berlinale Co-Production Market

Gender Equality-Berlinale Eliminates Silver Bear for Best Actor and Best Actress

All3Media, A+E Networks, BBC Studios, ZDF Join MIPCOM 2020 Global UPFRONTS Lineup

NürnbergMesse’s Content India Show from October 29-31

Berlinale 2021 Will be a Physical Festival; EFM in Hybrid Format

Best of 2020: A Dazzling Dozen

Striking the Right Chord

Ishaan Khatter looking ‘beyond clouds’ with promising upcoming projects

IFFI 2020 Adopts Hybrid Online-Physical Edition

India Unbound

20 Films That Make us Believe Freedom is Priceless

Krishna Janmashtami Special

National Education Policy: Game Changer

18 Must-See Films at Venice 2020

Ayushmann Turns Athlete

Indian Trio in Venice

Blockchain: The Future is Now

Not right time to open cinema halls: Ravi Kottarakara

Meet, ERICA. AI Actor in a SCI-FI Film

Vidya Balan Set to Shine as Shakuntala Devi

Straight Answers From Alexander Shulgin

Content is king for Saregama’s Yoodlee

Nuggets From Animation Thought Leaders

NYIFF Takes Virtual Route

From The Heart Of Disney

New Model of Filmmaking in India

My Journey: How I Did It

Animation in the Age of Art & Tech

Gaurav Banerjee: Star Unveiled

FDI cap of 26% for News Aggregators Under Consideration

The Changemaker

COVID-19 has Accelerated Digital Shift Towards Across Sectors

No Business as Usual for Film Industry

What’s Wrong With our News Media Today ?

The Fire Inside Regina

Gaming Industry Braves Covid

Disney +Hotstar Leads the Disruption

Taapsee’s takes on OTT, Nepotism & Covid

Oscar Invites QUBE’s Senthil Kumar to be its Member at Large

What’s New Search Engine Neeva Can Do That Google Cannot?

The New Oscar Award Date April 25, 2021

India to Offer Incentive Package for Film Shoots and Co-Production

Strings of Genius

A Ray That Still Lights The Way

Best of the Cannes Official Selection 2020 Films

Most Awaited Films of India

56 Films: Cannes Reveals 2020 Lineup

The Making of Cannes 2020 Film Selection Process

Cannes Virtual Film Market Extends Earlybird Registration to June 12

Annecy Jury Members

Take a Look at Annecy Competition Lineup

Getting Back to Business, Reveals Media Consumption Pattern

Cannes 2020 to Announce Festival Selection Lineup on June 3

20 Work in Progress Tiltles Unveiled for Goes to Cannes

Annecy VR Works Selections for Digital MIFA Market

Film Bazaar’s Work in Progress Films from India Goes to Cannes Virtual Market

Navigating Virtual Cannes Film Market 2020

Meet the Streamers: HBO Max & Quibi Keynotes at Cannes Virtual Film Market

Dedicated Cannes XR Virtual Edition from June 24-26

Screen Moms; Best Movies to Stream on Mother’s Day

Vijay Deverakonda: The Lovable ‘Rowdy’

Sai Pallavi: Natural Beauty is a Natural Actor Too

Cannes Virtual Film Market Registration Opens May 13

COVID-19: Nuggets from Netflix’s Ted Sarandos on Filming and Safety Protocols

Maitreyi Ramakrishnan is New Sensation in Netflix Original Series Never Have I Ever

The Best Movies of 2001-2019 Not Streaming in OTT Platforms

Best Movies of the New Millennium Streaming Now

Best Movies of the New Millennium Streaming Now

Best Movies of the New Millennium Streaming Now

Best Movies of the New Millennium Streaming Now

Best Movies of the New Millennium Streaming Now

Annecy Unveils Virtual Film Festival and Market in June

Roskino to Host Russian Virtual Digital Content Market from June 8

27 Rishi Kapoor Films to Stream at Home Now

Virtual Nab Show Express will Take Place May 13-14, 2020

51 International Film Festival of India, Goa ( 20 -28 November, 2020)

Films to Watch in 2020

Christopher Nolan Films Tenet in Mumbai

A Call From Uttarakhand For Filmmakers Of The World

FFO Rolls Out Red Carpet For Foreign Filmmakers

INDIA@BERLINALE-Indian Cinema’s Voices Emerging

51st IFFI TO Mark Satyajit Ray’s Centenary Celebrations

Sailing well in Animation Waters

Infusing Life With Dubbing AT VR Films & Studios

Berlinale 2020: India’s Laila Aur Satt Geet Selected for ‘Encounters’ Section

Prateek Vats’ Eeb Allay Ooo! in Berlinale Panaroma

Berlinale Shorts: Ekta Mittal’s ‘Gumnaam Din’ to showcase of pain of separation

Berlinale Talents: Seven Indians Make It to the List

My Salinger Year is the Opening Film at 70th Berlinale

GET READY for EUROPEAN FILM MARKET 2020

BERLIN FILM FESTIVAL 2019 WINNERS

Berlinale Forum Celebrates Golden Jubilee in 2020

Berlinale 2020 Poster Unveiled

British Actor Jeremy Irons Will Be the Jury President of Berlinale 2020

Amit Khanna: The Renaissance Man

Fantastic Friend

THE MEDIA GURU-AMIT KHANNA

STRAIGHT ANSWERS FROM AMIT KHANNA

THE DEFINING DECADE -THE 1990s

10 Achievements of Amit Khanna

Reflections on Amit Khanna

Valuable Moments

India Enchants John Bailey

The Big Bachchan of Bollywood

ETERNAL SUPERSTAR: RAJINIKANTH

INDIA’S FLAGSHIP FILM FESTIVAL TURNS 50

BACK IN BUSINESS WITH A BANG

GET THE BEST OUT OF FILM BAZAAR 2019

Transforming Hollywood from pixels to voxels

Government of India committed to Safeguard IP content: Commerce Secretary

Must do Things at AFM

Why India Attracts Foreign Filmmakers

Architect of AMAZEMENT

Pickle at MIPCOM 2019

INDIAN COMPANIES AT MIPCOM

Super Audio: Licensed to Thrill

Jungle Book Season 3 Ready

Issuance of VPL in India

Editor’s Note: 44th Toronto International Film Festival Pickle Sept 2019 Edition

The OSCAR RACE begins HERE…

Seven Indian Indie Filmmakers To Watch

Indian Cinema Of Today: A Culturally Responsive Artifact

Indie Resurgence

Indian Films At Toronto a Sparkling Quartet

IFFI Matters @ 50

Four Indian Films at the Toronto International Film Festival 2019

India Pavilion at Toronto International Film Market 2019

Made in Afghan Film ‘Hava, Maryam, Ayesha’ To Compete at Venice Festival

Keerthy Suresh: The Mahanati of Mahanati. Best Actress, National Film Award

Uttarakhand Bags National Award for Most Film Friendly State

66th National Film Awards Winners for 2018

Watan Adds Colour to Indian Independence Day

dream hampton and Brie Miranda Bryant to Feature in MIPCOM’S Women in Global Entertainment Lunch 2019

Making a Song and Dance of it

NFDC Invites Applications for Production of Films in Indian Languages; Deadline September 8, 2019

IFFI Calls for Entry for Indian Panorama in 50th Edition

Ease of Filming in India

Come, Film In Inida

Why TikTok wants to invest $1 billion in India?

Priyanka Chopra’s The Sky is Pink Set to Premiere in 2019 Toronto Internaitonal Film Festival’s Gala Section

76th Venice International Film Festival to Open With Hirokazu Kore-eda’s ‘The Truth’

Indian Cinema’s Soft Power Misses the Mark in Nirmala Sitharaman’s Maiden Budget Speech

Shahid’s Kabir Singh Becomes Top-Grossing Film of 2019

Finance Minister Proposes FDI Norm Relaxation in Media

Media & Entrtainment as Champion Sector Figures in the Economic Survey 2018-19

Indian Cinema’s Steady Rise on Global Stage

Glimpses of the future

IFFI Marching Towards 50th Edition

Cannes or Netflix? Is Netflix an acceptable remediation for Cannes’ decades-long little regard for Indian Cinema?

Play Small & Live Long Did Wonders for Me

Ayushmann Catalogue: Watch now

DocuBay Media Pvt. Ltd.

Locomotive Films India

Rich Conference Programme, Thought Leader Keynotes at MIPTV 2019, Cannes

Company



About Us

Contact Us

Connect With Us