Cannes Film Festival 2018: From #MeToo to Netflix row, a look at controversies beyond selfie ban

FP Staff

May,09 2018 16:18:39 IST

As the elite Hollywood crowd heads to the South of France to attend the coveted Cannes Film Festival, the mega event finds itself embroiled in multiple controversies. With the winds of change, a bunch of legal battles seem to have hit the monumental film event which kicked off on 8 May.

A monumental platform for upcoming filmmakers and technicians, Cannes Film Festival this year is dealing with several issues it never signed up for. Well, no one signed up to live in the post-Weinstein era but here we are. Here is a close look at the controversies that seemed to have rocked the French Riviera will make one realise that there is more to it, beyond the selfie ban.

Cannes Film Festival. Twitter

Cannes Film Festival. Twitter

Netflix vs Cannes

Netflix sent Cannes a firm 'no thanks' just before the program was announced in April. Its much-publicised boycott of the event is seen as a reaction the festival's policy, which bans films without French theatrical distribution. Although the streaming giant can utilise the 'out of official competition' section to re-enter the competition, a middle ground seems highly unlikely with its chief content officer suggesting that their filmmakers could use a little more respect.

Representation of women

Although the representation of women or the lack of it on major platforms has always been an issue, more people are feeling the pain in the year that has been dominated by the MeToo and Time's Up movement. Cannes too, has been reeling under pressure after being confronted with the glaring gender inequality in the competition for the coveted Palme d'Or. Only three women directors are vying for the prize among 21 contenders, which still serves the festival better than 2010 and 2012, when there wasn't a single female-led film in the competition.

The Cannes Film Festival 2018 Jury. Image from Twitter/@Ballroom_Dreams

The Cannes Film Festival 2018 Jury. Image from Twitter/@Ballroom_Dreams

Legal battles

The festival currently has two filmmakers in the run for the Palme d'Or who cannot leave their home country. While Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi has been banned from making films and travelling, Russian filmmaker Kirill Serebrennikov is under house arrest. The chances of the two attending the event seem bleak although Cate Blanchett is lobbying for them and so is the festival.

Although the festival stands firm on its decision to select Terry Gilliam’s The Man Who Killed Don Quixote as this year’s closing movie, the legal dispute between the director and producer Paulo Branco has only made this year's Festival De Cannes murkier. Branco, who had been working with Gilliam on the film initially, claims he holds the rights to the film and has sued the festival to stop the screening of the film. A court in Paris is likely to announce the verdict on 9 May on whether the film can make it to festival.

Selfie ban

In a Met Ball-esque mission to make the red carpet selfie-free, the Cannes Film Festival announced a selfie-ban this year much to the disappointment of Hollywood's gown brigade. Thierry Fremaux, the festival boss, has strengthened the crusade against selfies by taking it upon himself to stop anyone with a phone from taking photos. What remains to be seen is whether the Kims and Kylies of the world have it in them to defy this one too.

Lars von Trier's reinduction

Controversial filmmaker Lars von Trier has been re-inducted into the fest after being punished for joking about being a Nazi in 2011. The board decided that his punishment, which entailed a 7 year-long-ban from the festival, had lasted long enough. Trier also faces sexual harassment allegations from Icelandic pop singer Björk, which does not bode well for the festival's unmissable fervour against sexual harassment and the ongoing movements to counter it.

Updated Date: May 09, 2018 16:30 PM