26 oct 2021

Will Netflix organize a festival in several French arthouse cinemas?

In agreement with several arthouse structures, the American streaming platform would screen, from December 7 to 14, the feature films Pieces of a Woman and Malcolm and Marie but also films not yet released…

“Malcolm and Marie” (2021) by Sam Levinson, available on Netflix. © Netflix

In the saga that opposes platforms to cinemas, a new episode will cause a lot of ink to flow… After a bloody episode in the United States in early 2021, where the anger of cinema operators resounded after the Warner Bros. and Disney have announced that they will release their films simultaneously in theaters and online – on HBO Max and Disney+ – it is now the turn of French distributors to express their dissatisfaction with the omnipresence of platforms in the 7th art industry.


Indeed, according to independent distributors, Netflix is working on the programming, in December, of some of its films already available and others soon online in some French theaters. Within several structures classified as arthouse, the American streaming platform is said to be screening feature films from December 7 to 14 Pieces of a Woman and Malcolm and Marie but also films not yet released, including Maggie Gyllenhaal’s Venice-acclaimed directorial debut, The Lost Daughter, Paolo Sorrentino’s The Hand of God, the blockbuster Don’t Look Up by Adam McKay (starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence) and the the highly anticipated latest film by New Zealand filmmaker Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog. A most enticing program, which would allow works by the greatest contemporary directors to find their audience in theaters and to make spectators enjoy a total cinema experience on the big screen.


But this announcement clearly does not delight everyone, especially independent distributors. Some fear that the release of their films will be overshadowed by this event and denounce, according to Comments reported by the daily Libération, “a giant promotional trailer to encourage moviegoers to subscribe to a paid service”. However , the partner programmers defend their choice: broadcasting Netflix films is no worse than screening the latest blockbusters from Warner or Disney. When it comes to great films,  it is necessary, according to them, to know how to ignore its principles. And also to recognize that this war against platforms is, according to Patrick Troudet –  programmer of the Utopia network still at Libération –  already “lost”.


The Netflix festival is expected to take place in several French arthouse theaters from December 7 to 14.