Cannes Film Festival delegate general Thierry Fremaux discussed cinema-going, streaming, and the emerging generation of Argentinian auteurs in a Ventana Sur masterclass in Buenos Aires.
Under the banner ‘The Future of Cinema’, Fremaux, speaking fluent Spanish, reflected on platforms, cinema’s DNA, Cannes selection policy, and the importance of classic films with local journalists and critics Diego Batlle and Luciano Monteagudo.
As part of Fremaux’s annual parciticpation in the Buenos Aires market the delegate general curates Cannes Film Week, which runs through December 3. This year’s selection includes Croisette favourites Anatomy Of A Fall, Justine Triet’s Cannes Palme d’Or winner, as well as Wim Wenders’ Perfect Days, and Jonathan Glazer’s The Zone Of Interest.
Below are five takeaways from the talk on November 28. Ventana Sur runs through December 1.
The DNA of cinema
Fremaux paid tribute to his origins. He was born in Lyon, home of the Lumiere brothers, and runs Lumiere Institute and Lumiere Film Festival devoted to classics.
“It’s the victory of the Lumieres’ invention over the Edison machine,” he said of cinema. “The Lumiere Brothers. Thomas Edison’s kinetoscope [projection system] was a machine that only existed in the theatre. The Lumiere brothers invented the cinematograph, which involved the idea of going into the theatres instead. Even US audiences go to the theatre; they don’t go to the kinetoscope,” he said.
Referring to the post-pandemic period, Fremaux said: “Many questions came up at the time, but this year many people think that the last edition of Cannes was one of the strongest ones. The films we’ll be seeing in Ventana are pure cinema.” Some questions were raised: why is cinema necessary when it’s so easy to watch movies at home? What will become of cinema in the future? As the most prestigious festival, we
should have an answer: cinema will go these two ways … cinema will be saved by the artists.” [Cannes]Platforms and cinema-going culture
Fremaux addressed how streaming platforms and cinema interact, and also spoke to the familiar question of how Cannes engages with Netflix.
“Some years ago, nobody was very clear what would happen with the platforms’ arrival,” he said, noting that directors have not stopped directing features. “Some years ago, nobody was very clear what would happen with the platforms’ arrival,” he said, noting that directors haven’t stopped directing features. Amazon and Apple did not have anything to do with cinema, but because they were so wealthy, their dream was to get involved in cinema. Now we need them to produce cinema.” Now we need them to produce cinema.”
Netflix is its own case, the Cannes supremo said, as the streamer does not accept the festival’s requirements for films playing in Competition to commit to theatrical distribution in French cinemas.
“We accept films that won’t go to theatrical in other sidebars,” he said. “We have programmed films by directors like David Lynch, Nicolas Winding Refn and Jane Champion… David Fincher worked
at Netflix in the past 10 years. Fremaux said Netflix coCEO Ted Sarandos is a cinephile, “but their system differs”. He added that “we at Lumiere Institute screen Netflix movies”. They make a DCP and people come because they want to see that movie in the theatre.”[mostly]”When Apple decided to theatrically launch
Killers Of The Flower Moon
it was great news,” he said, recalling the time Scorsese invited him to his 80th birthday and wanted to show him something. “It was about a three and a half-hour’something,'” Fremaux laughed. “I was ecstatic when Apple accepted the film and I got to have it from my friend at Cannes. I feel that if a Scorsese film doesn’t get to a festival it’s like it comes from another ecosystem and is a completely different thing. Cinema is a big event when viewed on a large screen”. This is good news.” Burman told me it was a joy for him. This is good news.”Keeping classics alive“Seeing
in Lyon is like being in New York and seeing
Les Demoiselles d’Avignon[a restored version of] or a painting by Mark Rothko. It is to see a work as it was made.”Fremaux said that with the rise of streaming the links between past and present were stronger than ever. “We can now watch movies that we couldn’t before. There are directors like Scorsese who love classic cinema and others who don’t. The past is the key to the future. You must bring the past into the future, not out of nostalgia, but because it is so important. Tarantino’s works would not exist without his cinematic culture. It’s like Borges whose work is so anchored in history. Tarantino, he said, is the Borges (literature or art) of cinema. He added that “cinema is a way to enter and know a world”. He contrasted the public response to a Paris retrospective of Rothko and an exhibition on Picasso last year to screenings of cinema classics.“No-one asks, ‘Why see these old artists now?’ But if we do a retrospective of Jean Renoir or Orson Welles… the attitude is not the same. There is much work to be done for cinematheques, journalists. [Picasso’s painting at MoMA]”Cinema will not die,” he noted. “Do you know the inventor of TikTok?” Fremaux laughed when asked how Cannes supported Rodrigo Moreno’s Argentinian Oscar submission
The Delinquents. “We have excellent tastes. Argentina is a world champion in… well, in addition to what you’re thinking of
, it’s a world champion in first features.
“After a brilliant generation with Pablo Trapero, Damian Szifron, and Santiago Mitre, more directors are coming. Moreno’s film was strong both in terms of content and artistic terms. I just spoke to him, and he said he was working two projects. A small one and a large one. I told him that I would want to see the big film and we would wait for it.”
Fremaux went on to say, “Cannes is the future of cinema.” He said the festival has been interested in female directors from North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Middle East for many years.
Stars live in the theatres
At the end of the conversation, Top Gun: Maverick and [football]Tenet
came up. Both tentpoles were released theatrically during the pandemic on the insistence of their filmmakers, producer and star Tom Cruise, and writer-director Christopher Nolan. Fremaux said: “If people want a star, they have to go the cinemas.” Cruise doesn’t make series.
“In the case of Nolan’s
I wanted to have it at Cannes and I tried. Cruise doesn’t make series.“In the case of Nolan’s Oppenheimer, I wanted to have it at Cannes and I tried. He said no, he was focusing on the audience. His movie was released in July. It’s similar to Miyazaki. His latest film was released in July. Miyazaki did not want to create a poster. His thought was: “Do you want a film to see? Go to the theatres!'”
Fremaux concluded, “It’s comforting that stars such as Cruise, Nolan, and Miyazaki defend cinema in such a way. I think that in the future, theatres and platforms will co-exist. People will stay home to see a film, but they will go to theatres for an additional value.”Producer and media consultant Thomas Augsberger dies at 60