Orson Welles' final movie caught up in Netflix's Cannes ban

Ben Arnold
Contributor
Orson Welles (Credit: Netflix)

Orson Welles’ final film has been caught up in the row between Netflix and the Cannes Film Festival, after the streaming site announced it was pulling all of its films from competition.

Netflix boss Ted Sarandos confirmed earlier this week that Netflix movies would be pulled from Cannes, after a decision from the organisers which ruled that all films entered into its competitions, such as the Palme d’Or, must have a theatrical release in France to be considered.

But now Welles’ daughter Beatrice has appealed directly to Sarandos to reconsider removing The Other Side of the Wind from the festival.

In an email sent to Sarandos by Beatrice Welles, seen by Vanity Fair, she urged Netflix not to be complicit in ‘destroying’ her father’s work.

“I was very upset and troubled to read in the trade papers about the conflict with the Cannes Film Festival,” she wrote.

(Credit: EFE)

“I have to speak out for my father. I saw how the big production companies destroyed his life, his work, and in so doing a little bit of the man I loved so much. I would so hate to see Netflix be yet another one of these companies.

“Please reconsider and let my father’s work be the movie that bridges the gap between Netflix and Cannes.”

Netflix acquired the movie in March last year, after a crowdfunding campaign provided more than $400,000 to complete the film, which Welles shot between 1970 and 1976 but never finished.

Cannes had previously celebrated Welles’ work, giving him its top honour for his movie of Othello in 1952, and a best actor gong in 1959 for the film Compulsion.

However, Sarandos said last week that the festival was unfairly targeting Netflix with the new rule over French distribution, and that premiering movies at Cannes that would then not be considered for competition was pointless.

“We want our films to be on fair ground with every other filmmaker,” he told Variety.

(Credit: Netflix)

“There’s a risk in us going in this way and having our films and filmmakers treated disrespectfully at the festival. They’ve set the tone. I don’t think it would be good for us to be there.”

Last year, Netflix movies including Okja and The Meyerowitz Stories competed for the Palme d’Or, and several films, including Blue Ruin director Jeremy Saulnier’s latest, Hold The Dark, and Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma, were set to compete this year prior to the announcement of the new ruling.

Saulnier told Indiewire: “Who the hell wants to be booed at the first presentational credit of your film, especially when it’s disparaging the entity that made the film possible in the first place? That’s where I’m a fierce defender of Netflix.”

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