Photo Credit: Les Films du Bal, Xilam Animation
Netflix might be banned from submitting its films to Cannes Film Festival's in-competition section, which is why it's been largely missing from the prestigious film festival for the last two years, but that can't stop the streaming service from acquiring films after they have already won. And that's just what Netflix did over the weekend, picking up worldwide rights for Grand Prix winner Atlantics from French black female director Mati Diop. Grand Prix is the second-most prestigious prize of Cannes Film Festival after the Palme d'Or, which was won by South Korean director Bong Joon-ho's Parasite at the 2019 edition.
Additionally, Netflix acquired the animated film I Lost My Body from French director Jérémy Clapin, which won the Nespresso Grand Prize, the highest-possible honour for a film screened under the International Critics' Week section at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival.
Both the Netflix deals for Atlantics and I Lost My Body do not include certain territories: China, Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Russia, and Switzerland for Atlantics; and China, Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands, and Turkey for I Lost My Body. That's partly because of the same reason Netflix is banned from competing in Cannes, in that any films released in the aforementioned European countries must wait 3 years (or 36 months) before they can be made available for streaming. Secondly, Netflix is not available in China.
That said, Netflix has still picked up streaming rights for Belgium, France, Luxembourg, and Netherlands for Atlantics, and France for I Lost My Body, which will only kick in 36 months after their respective theatrical release in the respective regions.
Diop had made history with her feature debut Atlantics even before she won the Grand Prix, for being the first black woman to have her film premiere in competition at Cannes Film Festival. Set in the Senegal capital city of Dakar, Atlantics is the story of 17-year-old Ada, whose lover Souleiman leaves the country by sea, in hopes of a better future. Several days later, a fire ruins Ada's wedding to the man she is betrothed to and a mysterious fever starts to spread. Ada doesn't know that Souleiman has returned.
Clapin also makes his feature debut with the animated I Lost My Body, which depicts two parallel storylines. One strand follows a young man who moves to France and falls in love, while another follows his severed hand which escapes from a lab and scrambles through Paris to get back to his body.
Full image courtesy for Atlantics still: Les Films du Bal / Cinekap / FraKas / Arte France Cinéma / Canal Plus Int'l.