Cannes Film Fest 2022: Again Without Netflix

Netflix Comeback at Cannes Won’t Happen This Year

Cannes Film Festival Placeholder
Courtesy of FIF/Cannes Film Festival

A rumored comeback of Netflix at the Cannes Film Fest, in or out of competition, is not going to happen in 2022.

A source familiar with Netflix’s plans confirmed that the streamer isn’t planning to world premiere its films at the festival’s 75th edition, meaning that Andrew Dominik’s Blonde, a Marilyn Monroe biopic starring Ana de Armas, will be skipping the French Riviera.

Dominik recently told journalists at the Berlinale that he hoped his film would play on the Croisette, but it appears that discussions with Netflix have stalled due to Cannes’ rule that every competing movie must have theatrical release in France.

Netflix had select festival movies play in European theaters. Paolo Sorrentino’s Oscar-nominated The Hand of God premiered at Venice in September and played in Italian cinemas.

Despite the country’s new windowing rules, once a film bows in cinemas, Netflix has to wait 15 months before launching the movie on its service. It’s a big improvement from the previous 36-month window but it’s still a deal-breaker for Netflix where Cannes is concerned.

Cannes chief Thierry Fremaux, who has friendly relationship with Netflix’s co-CEO and CCO Ted Sarandos, has tried to talk the streamer into returning to the festival out of competition, and almost succeeded in 2020 with Spike Lee’s “Da 5 Bloods,” but the comeback plan fell through after the festival scrapped its physical edition due to the pandemic.

Netflix was last in Cannes in 2017 with Bong Joon-ho’s “Okja” and Noah Baumbach’s “The Meyerowitz Stories.”

The festival then changed its rules following a powerful outcry by French exhibitors demanding that competition films play in local theaters before streaming.

Though both Netflix and Cannes hope to find compromise in the future that will allow for a reunion, it seems both players have thrived with their respective strategies.

Netflix has had satisfying track record at Venice in the last few years, including in 2021 with “The Hand of God” and Jane Campion’s “The Power of the Dog,” which both earned Oscar nominations.

Cannes had a banner 2021 edition with critically acclaimed gems such as Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s “Drive My Car,” which was recently nominated for four Oscars, and Joachim Trier’s “The Worst Person in the World” competing for a pair of Oscars.; and Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s animated documentary “Flee” vying for three Oscars.

Though “Titane” didn’t make it onto the Oscar’s international feature shortlist, the daring movie’s director Julia Ducournau has been nominated at the BAFTAs.

Recent Cannes editions have also turned the spotlight on world cinema masterpieces such as Bong Joon-ho’s “Parasite,” which scored a historic best picture win along with three other Oscars after winning the Palme d’Or.

The 75th Cannes Film Festival will take place from May 17-28.