Alfonso Cuaron has hailed Netflix as an “important” force in the modern film world.
The streaming service has been seen by many in the film industry as a controversial or dangerous, afraid that the VOD giant’s premiering films online will damage the traditional theatrical experience. Netflix’s first Italian film, Sulla Mia Pelle (read our review here), opened the Orrizonti section at this year’s Venice Film Festival, amid backlash from cinemas over its day-and-date distribution. Also premiering at Venice are a number of other Netflix titles, including the restoration of Orson Welles’ The Other Side of the Wind, Paul Greengrass’ 22 July and Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma.
Cuaron was in town to promote his latest work – hailed by us as a “tiny masterpiece” and a “deeply personal” drama – and spoke out about the Netflix debate during the festival’s official press conference for the movie.
He confirmed to the press that the film would receive a theatrical run in the USA to qualify for awards, adding that it will be seen “in many places on the big screen”. He also spoke about the “reality of film distibution” today and the role that Netflix has to play.
“One shouldn’t judge when we know about the complexity or reality of film distribution, ” he commented. “We know full well that a Spanish-language drama – indigenous, black and white and not a genre movie – we know this sort of film would have a great deal of difficulty to find space to be shown. I won’t say success, but space. That’s why it’s important to have Netflix… The important thing is that the film has a sort of impact and not to be lost over time. We have to be aware of the fact that this film exists and therefore I’m very grateful for Netflix because they have allowed me to work in this way.
“We’re going to live with this format. It’s important the two things exist not clash. It’s just a question of finding something that works.”
Participant Media’s David Linde also added: “It’s somewhat naive to believe in this day and age that audiences don’t want to be able to see a movie on terms they determine most appropriate for themselves.”
Watch the trailer here.