Could Netflix Finally Be Back In The Cannes Official Selection?

Is something finally about to give in the long impasse between Cannes and Netflix?

In recent days, director Andrew Dominik (The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford) has said he hopes his anticipated Marilyn Monroe biopic Blonde might make it to the Riviera.

Speaking to Screen, the director claimed that Cannes chief Thierry Fremaux is a big fan of the movie and that Netflix had pushed for a Competition slot with an eight month theatrical window but was turned down. An Out of Competition slot has been mooted, apparently.

When we reached out to Netflix this weekend, the streamer didn’t confirm or deny that the film is in contention for an Out of Competition berth. Instead, they noted that Dominik had only expressed a hope rather than certitude that the movie would play at the festival.

While uncertainty remains, the response from Netflix was a slight change of tack from the previously firm line that Out of Competition slots wouldn’t be considered.

As for Cannes, a press spokesperson was similarly coy, merely noting: “At this stage, only friendly discussions exist between Thierry Frémaux and Andrew Dominik.”

Dominik has previously played in Cannes Competition with 2012 Brad Pitt pic Killing Them Softly. The filmmaker’s anticipated biopic Blonde stars Ana De Armas (pictured) as the iconic but troubled Monroe. The director has also confirmed an NC-17 rating for the movie.

Netflix films haven’t played in the Cannes Official Selection since 2017. Since then, the festival has made clear that movies have to abide by a long theatrical window to play in Competition. Fremaux has invited Netflix to play Out of Competition but the streamer hasn’t wanted to send movies if the festival‘s most prestigious strand is off limits.

It hasn’t been a complete shutout on the Riviera for Netflix since 2017. In 2019 the independent sidebar Director’s Fortnight braved the wrath of local exhibitors by selecting Netflix pic Wounds. In that instance the filmmakers and Netflix were able to reach an accord.

Netflix struck a new deal with French industry groups last month giving it access to films 15 months after their theatrical release, versus the market’s long-held 36-month SVOD waiting period.

Many in the industry are pointing to Cannes as a potential opportunity for a grand-scale feel-good get-together after more than two years of pandemic-blighted events. Wouldn’t it be nice to have Netflix movies at the party too.

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