Netflix Plans Scaled-Down Film Club in France Following Industry Backlash

Netflix has unveiled its plan to host a retrospective of nine original movies, including Jane Campion’s “The Power of the Dog,” at the French Cinematheque in Paris and the Lumiere Institute in Lyon in December.

Called the Netflix Film Club, the event will take place Dec. 7-14 and will comprise screenings of six movies that launched on the streamer earlier this year. Besides “The Power of the Dog,” these include Kornél Mundruczó’s “Pieces of a Woman,” Sam Levinson’s “Malcolm & Marie,” Jeymes Samuel’s “The Harder They Fall,” Antoine Fuqua’s “The Guilty,” and Rebecca Hall’s “Passing,” as well as three anticipated movies that have not yet bowed on Netflix: Adam Mckay’s Don’t Look Up,” Paolo Sorrentino’s “The Hand of God,” and Maggie Gyllenhaal’s “The Lost Daughter.”

Netflix was initially planning to organize commercial screenings in theaters in several cities across France but scaled back its initiative after facing an industry backlash.

Distributors and exhibitors guilds, notably DIRE and the FNCF, issued releases suggesting the streamer’s project represented a threat to the country’s independent film world at a critical time. The country’s windowing rules are up for renewal and are currently being debated by TV channels, platforms and exhibitors.

Since the event is now a retrospective at film institutes rather than commercial screenings in theaters, Netflix won’t need to apply for a temporary visa from the CNC (National Film Board).

“This film selection showcases the variety of genres and diversity of talent,” said a Netflix spokesperson. “With three films which won prizes at Venice and three films directed by women, the Netflix Film Club is drawing the spotlight on new perspectives through two feature debuts from female actors: ‘The Lost Daughter’ by Maggie Gyllenhaal and ‘Passing’ by Rebecca Hall.’”

Netflix has been working with the Lumiere Institute in Lyon since 2018 when it held the French premieres of Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma” at the Lumiere Festival, which is organized by Cannes Film Festival chief Thierry Fremaux. This year, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos even attended the opening ceremony of the festival where four Netflix movies had their French premieres, including “The Hand of God,” “The Lost Daughter” and “The Power of the Dog.”

The streamer has been a backer of the French Cinematheque since 2019 and has notably helped to finance the restoration of Abel Gance’s 1927 classic “Napoleon Comet.” Netflix has also participated in hosting several screenings, conferences and masterclasses with Aaron Sorkin and David Fincher, among others.

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