Following Steven Spielberg’s recent war of words with Netflix (which is really about the end of movie theaters), it’s also useful to remember that Netflix pulled out of Cannes in 2018 after one of its 2017 offerings, Okja, was booed not over the film’s content but because of the Netflix logo. This might naturally lead to an assumption of lingering animosity between the streaming giant and the highly prestigious festival after news that Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman won’t be screening at Cannes, nor will any other Netflix film in 2019.
However, Variety is quick to point out while reporting the news that the omission this year is largely due to The Irishman not being ready for screening. All that digital de-aging takes time, after all, and Variety adds that talks have been more than cordial, despite all the 2018 fuss:
The ongoing talks between the two sides have been friendly, including a dinner in Los Angeles just over a week ago with Netflix’s Ted Sarandos and Scott Stuber and Cannes artistic director Thierry Fremaux, who was in town for a summit hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press, one insider said. The meeting was one of several held since Netflix and Cannes’ bitter spat before last year’s festival, which led the streamer to take Roma to Venice instead, where it won the Golden Lion.
Indeed, it wouldn’t be a good look for Cannes to continue feuding with Netflix, given that other festivals like Venice will welcome selections with open arms. When those films also go on to win Oscars (Roma scored three of them, including Foreign Language Film, Cinematography, and Director for Alfonso Cuarón), festivals may as well embrace the trend, even when Spielberg is actively campaigning against the tide. Meanwhile, The Irishman is expected to arrive in theaters this fall. No official release date has been set, but a teaser featuring only bullets and voices serves as plenty of evidence that the film’s still stuck in the thick of production.