Television wins new respect from movie elite at Cannes festival

Fri May 24, 2013 10:20am EDT
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By Belinda Goldsmith

CANNES (Reuters) - Actors and directors gathered for the world's leading movie showcase in Cannes this week said television was increasingly luring top talent and should no longer be seen as artistically inferior to the big screen.

TV series like "The Wire," "Homeland", "Mad Men," "The Sopranos" and "Game of Thrones", which have won critical and commercial success, were cited for breaking down the division between movies and TV, giving audiences innovative viewing.

At the 66th Cannes film festival, moviemakers said a new era of TV was presenting opportunities to take more creative risks.

Director Steven Soderbergh, known for Hollywood hits like "Ocean's Eleven" has announced plans to retire from filmmaking but expressed interest in working in television.

Soderbergh, 50, whose biopic on pianist Liberace, "Behind the Candelabra", is in the main competition at Cannes, said there had been a gradual migration of audiences towards television.

"There is a lot of great television being made in the States right now and I feel in terms of cultural real estate that TV is really taking control of the conversation that used to be the exclusive domain of movies," Soderbergh told reporters.

"I think it is the second golden age of television," said the director who was reported to have joined forces with actor Clive Owen for a TV drama called "The Knick" set in New York's Knickerbocker Hospital.

"Behind the Candelabra", with Michael Douglas as Liberace and Matt Damon as his gay lover, was made for TV, funded by Time Warner's HBO cable network after Hollywood studios rejected the gay storyline of the $25 million film as too risky.   Continued...

Cast member Matt Damon (C) takes pictures with his mobile phone after the screening of the film "Behind the Candelabra" by Steven Soderbergh (R) in competition during the 66th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes May 21, 2013. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau