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Can Cannes Film Festival adapt to changing times?

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By Euronews
Can Cannes Film Festival adapt to changing times?

Veteran US director Martin Scorsese and Oscar-winning actress Cate Blanchett officially opened the Cannes film festival on Tuesday, the first to be held since the cinema industry was rocked by the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

“The festival line-up is noticeably short of big names this year," says Euronews' Belle Donati.

"And one of its red carpet regulars, Harvey Weinstein, won't be appearing. All eyes are on how the festival responds to the "MeToo" movement he provoked. Add to that a fall out that's led Netflix to boycott the festival, and there's concern that Cannes is losing its touch.”

“For critics and for regular festival goers, there was a certain set of expected names like Mike Leigh and Paulo Sorrentino," says Robbie Collin, The Daily Telegraph's chief film critic.

"Instead the competition is full of new names that even world cinema fans might not necessarily be immediately familiar with. That makes the competition unknown territory, but it also means it’s incredibly exciting.”

Cannes used to be a celebration of the films of Harvey Weinstein but after dozens of women accused him of sexual harassment and assault, he’s been replaced by a hotline for festival goers to report misconduct.

Also absent from this year’s festival is Netflix. The streaming giant is boycotting Cannes over French rules that mean competition films have to wait three years before moving from movie theatres to Netflix account holders’ screens.

The festival director acknowledged such rules may need reforming.

Collin added; "The film industry at large is going through a very particular ‘moment’ just now. All of these issues that are burning away in the air are going to be responded to, are going to manifest in some way here first."

It’s been choppy waters for the film industry over the last six months… now the tide may be changing on the French Riviera too.