Cannes admits film festival cannot be held in June

A woman walks past photos of the Cannes Film festival on the Croisette in Cannes as a lockdown is imposed to slow the rate of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in France, March 18, 2020.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

One of cinema’s biggest celebrations, the Cannes Film Festival, has finally admitted that it will not take place June end-July beginning this year.

In a press communique the organisers said that in the light of French President Emmanuel Macron’s address yesterday, and the ban on festivals in France till mid July, the postponement of the Cannes Film Festival, initially considered for the end of June to the beginning of July, was no longer an available option.

The statement also said that it would be difficult to hold the festival in its original form this year but that they are continuing to explore options to salvage things in the best way possible.

The 73rd edition of the festival was originally scheduled to be held from May 12 to 23. It was postponed on March 19 tentatively to the June-July period in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

There have since been suggestions about the festival going virtual this year which the organisers had been opposed to, insisting on a “physical festival” or “nothing”. Another option offered, of pushing it to August-September, would mean a clash with biggies like the Venice and Toronto film festivals.

The latest communique has said that the festival has been in talks with professionals, in France and abroad, and they agree that it must explore all contingencies and make “Cannes 2020 real, in a way or another”.

While acknowledging the many uncertainties reigning over the international health situation, the organisers hoped that they would be able to communicate soon about the shape that Cannes will take this year.

“When the health crisis, whose resolution remains the priority of all, passes, we will have to reiterate and prove the importance of cinema and the role that its work, artists, professionals, film theatres and their audiences, play in our lives. This is how the Festival de Cannes, the Marché du Film and the parallel sections (Semaine de la Critique, Quinzaine des Réalisateurs, ACID), intend to contribute. We are committed to it and we would like to thank everyone who is by our side--public officials (Cannes' City Hall, Ministry of Culture, the CNC), industry members as well as our partners,” said the statement.

The 1968 festival

One of the buzziest and most significant trade hubs, the possible cancellation of the festival this year would severely impact an already badly-hit international film business. The one time Cannes was brought to a halt in recent history, midway at that, was in 1968, when several filmmakers - including Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut and Claude Lelouch - showed solidarity with striking students and workers resisting Charles de Gaulle’s government.

Some like Alain Resnais withdrew their movies, while others like Roman Polanski, Monica Vitti and Louis Malle resigned from the jury.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 11:22:28 PM |

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