Netflix snaps up two Cannes award winners despite feud

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Reuters/Regis Duvignau
Reuters/Regis Duvignau

Just because Netflix couldn't compete at Cannes doesn't mean it's leaving the film festival empty-handed. The streaming video service has acquired the North American and Latin American rights to two Cannes award winners, Alice Rohrwacher's Happy as Lazzaro (that's Rohrwacher pictured above) and Lukas Dhont's Girl. Lazzaro took home a Best Screenplay award for its story of a naively good man roped into faking someone's kidnapping, while Girl won the Camera d'Or (best first film), Best Actor and Queer Palm awards for its story of a transgender teen ballerina struggling to fit in.

Netflix hasn't said when the two movies would be available online.

The company bowed out after a rule change effectively forced it to choose between showing movies at Cannes and showing them online. The festival would have required Netflix to offer its movies in French theaters in order to qualify, but doing so would have prevented it from streaming those movies in France for three years. Netflix's Ted Sarandos later said he didn't think showing movies in front of a Cannes jury was worth denying those movies to "millions" of French subscribers.

These acquisitions aren't the greatest coups for Netflix (it didn't get Palme d'Or winner Shoplifters, for example), but they still represent an end run around Cannes' approach to streaming productions. They also send a not-so-subtle message to the festival: it may have to embrace internet video if it's going to remain relevant.

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