Netflix Pulls Out of Cannes; Full Lineup Revealed

Cannes Film Festival artistic director Thierry Fremaux is pictured attending a news conference to announce the official selection for the 71st Cannes Film Festival, in Paris on April 12. Netflix pulled five films from Cannes Film Festival amid new rule that it claims "explicitly" affects the streaming service. Reuters/Benoit Tessier

Netflix announced Wednesday it will not participate in Cannes Film Festival this May after festival runners enforced a new rule that prohibited films that didn't have a theatrical release in France.

Netflix is pulling five titles from the festival due to its new regulation. In an exclusive interview with Variety, Netflix's chief content officer Ted Sarandos suggested the removal of its slate of films wasn't the service's decision. But he argued Cannes's new regulation was "explicitly about Netflix."

"We want our films to be on fair ground with every other filmmaker," Sarandos told Variety. "There's a risk in us going in this way and having our films and filmmakers treated disrespectfully at the festival. They've set the tone. I don't think it would be good for us to be there."

Netflix had some of the biggest films to debut at last year's festival, being Okja and The Meyerowitz Stories. Both of these movies showed in competition and debuted to the streaming service's website not too long after (Okja hit Netflix in June whereas The Meyerowitz Stories premiered in October). And according to the Independent Film & Television Alliance, French law requires for films not be made available on home platforms after its theatrical release for 36 months.

Upon Netflix's participation being confirmed last year, unions and French theatre owners spoke out against Netflix's involvement to Cannes artistic director Thierry Fremaux, The Guardian reported.

Newsweek reached out to Netflix for additional comment. But Sarandos said he hopes Cannes will "rejoin" the film community. "We hope that they do change the rules," he told Variety. "We hope that they modernize."

Cannes is scheduled to kick off May 8. This years's lineup was revealed during a press conference Thursday, and it still proves to be jam-packed (despite Netflix's decision to opt out). The lineup boasts big films, including Spike Lee's BlacKkKlansman and Ron Howard's Solo: A Star Wars Story. There are only three female directors featured after the festival drew criticism last year for its lack of female representation in many areas.

Jessica Chastain—a jury member from the 2017 event—was among those to raise their concerns about the "quite disturbing" trend regarding female storytellers. "When we include more female storytellers, we will have more of the women I recognize in my day-to-day life—ones that are proactive, have their own agencies, don't just react to the men around them," Chastain said at a festival press conference, according to Vanity Fair. "They have their own point of view."

In anticipation of the 12-day long event, here's a full list of what this years's roster has to offer:


Ash Is Purest White (Jia Zhang-Ke)

At War (Stéphane Brizé)

BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee)

Burning (Lee Chang-dong)

Capernaum (Nadine Labaki)

Cold War (Pawel Pawlikowski)

Dogman (Matteo Garrone)

Girls of the Sun (Eva Husson)

The Image Book (Jean-Luc Godard)

Lazzaro Felice (Alice Rohrwacher)

Leto (Kirill Serebrennikov)

Netemo Sametemo (Ryusuke Hamaguchi)

Shoplifters (Kore-Eda Hirokazu)

Sorry Angel (Christophe Honoré)

Three Faces (Jafar Panahi)

Under the Silver Lake (David Robert Mitchell)

Yomeddine (A.B. Shawky)


Angel Face (Vanessa Filho)

Border (Ali Abbasi)

El Angel (Luis Ortega)

Euphoria (Valeria Golino)

Friend (Wanuri Kahiu)

The Gentle Indifference of the World (Adilkhan Yerzhanov)

Girl (Lukas Dhont)

The Harvesters (Etienne Kallos)

In My Room (Ulrich Köhler)

Little Tickles (Andréa Bescond & Eric Métayer)

Manto (Nandita Das)

My Favorite Fabric (Gaya Jiji)

Sextape (Antoine Desrosières)

Sofia (Meyem Benm'Barek)


Le Grand Bain (Gilles Lellouche)

Solo: A Star Wars Story (Ron Howard)


Arctic (Joe Penna)

Gongjak (Yoon Jong-Bing)


Dead Souls (Wang Bing)

La Traversée (Romain Goupil)

O Grande Circo Místico (Carlo Diegues)

Pope Francis—A Man of His Word (Wim Wenders)

The State Against Mandela and the Others (Nicolas Champeaux & Gilles Porte)

10 Years in Thailand (Aditya Assarat, Wisit Sasanatieng, Chulayarnon Sriphol & Apichatpong Weerasethakul)

To the Four Winds (Michel Toesca)