Cannes Film Festival: Will Smith And Pedro Almodovar Clash Over Netflix

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CANNES, France (AP) - Pedro Almodovar and Will Smith offered differing opinions on Netflix in a press conference on opening day at the Cannes Film Festival. But it wasn't always so fashion-focused.

Other stars with splashy Cannes films this year include Kristen Stewart - who's making her directorial debut with the short film Come Swim - Nicole Kidman, Elle Fanning, Kirsten Dunst and Colin Farrell in Sofia Coppola's The Beguiled, and Jake Gyllenhaal and Tilda Swinton in Netflix's Okja. A view of the Palais De Festival prior to the start of the 70th worldwide film festival, Cannes, southern France, Monday, May 15, 2017.

(Thibault Camus). A view of the palais du festival at the 70th worldwide film festival, Cannes, southern France, Monday, May 15, 2017.

This year's program also points to changes shaking up the film industry, including the march on Hollywood by streaming giants Netflix and Amazon and the arrival of virtual reality.

The online giant has refused to show two of its movies in the running for the Palme d'Or in French movie theatres, sparking a huge row that threatens to overshadow the world's top film festival, which starts officially late Wednesday.

Italian actress Monica Bellucci will host the gala opening ceremony on Wednesday night, with French drama "Ismael's Ghosts", starring Marion Cotillard, as the opening film.

Netflix will be releasing a Will Smith film this year, titled "Bright".

The Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown director said he could not conceive the Palme d'Or - or any other prize - "being given to a film and then not being able to see the film on a big screen".

Spanish director Pedro Almodovar has said in a surprise statement that the film winning this year's coveted Palme d'Or should be shown in cinemas.

"In my opinion, what is decisive when one sees a film for the first time is the size of the screen: the size should not be smaller than the chair on which you are sitting. You really have to have the feeling of being humble and small compared to the big screen", he added.

In my house, Netflix has been nothing but an absolute benefit, because they get to watch films that they never even would've seen.

But Smith, a member of the jury that also includes Jessica Chastain, Paolo Sorrentino and Park Chan-wook, stuck up for Netflix.

"There's very little cross between going to the cinema and watching what they watch on Netflix", he mused, saying they were "two different forms of entertainment" and that Netflix "brings a great amount of connectivity".

The "Hitch" star said: "My children go to the movies twice a week and they watch Netflix". And now they get to find those artists.

Stars are arriving under tighter security than in previous years, 10 months after the truck attack in nearby Nice killed 86 people. "So we need to pay attention", festival director Thierry Fremaux said in an interview.

Three years ago European Parliament had backed a motion urging anti-trust regulators to get tough on Google.

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