The Cannes Film Festival was originally due to kick off last night on the French Riviera, but as with many other industry events amid the coronavirus pandemic, it was ultimately canceled.
Still, organizers expect Cannes 2020 to live on in some ways later this summer, notably with a presence at the Venice Film Festival in September. Cannes President Pierre Lescure paid a visit to France TV Tuesday night, sporting a tux and appearing wistful at not being atop the famous red-carpeted steps, but said Cannes and Venice would “celebrate the relaunch of cinema in theaters” this fall.
Lescure, an industry veteran who co-founded Canal Plus, told the C A Vous program, that had he actually been in Cannes last night, it would be “7:45 and we’re on the red carpet, Spike Lee has just walked by with the rest of the jury; we’re waiting for the team from the opening film,” whose title, he winked, “we don’t know.” Organizers this year never got to the stage of announcing the lineup, though they are expected to reveal films they would have liked within the next few weeks. Lescure assured that the festival will nevertheless exist “in multiple ways.”
“Thierry Frémaux and the selection committee are going to announce a list of about 50 films that caught their attention and which would probably have been on the Croisette from tonight,” said Lescure. “The list will have the Cannes label and will be followed in all festivals like Angoulême at the end of the summer and especially in the fall at the Venice Film Festival.”
Asked if Venice is going to partner in a way with Cannes, Lescure responded, “We are working with them so that Cannes is present in Venice and so there is a maximum of celebrations of cinema. It will be Southern Europe, it will be the fact that after all the Venice Film Festival (which was a rival when Cannes was created), well that the two festivals are together to celebrate the relaunch of cinema in theaters.”
While Lescure said his family made fun of him for wearing a tux in honor of the kiboshed event on Tuesday, he added, “I’m thinking of, you know, there are 40,000 accredited people at Cannes: professionals, the press, critics, sales people, distributors, exhibitors, creators, producers and actors and actresses and then all the people around the world who follow this festival — which is the first in the world — but who follow all festivals and don’t care about whether they see movies in the cinema or on a platform. For all these people, this is the rendez-vous Cannois. The festival is 73 years old, so anyone who cares about cinema has always known the Cannes Film Festival.”
To that point, there has been an outpouring of regret from industryites and others that Cannes is not taking place this year. In a widely-shared video (see below), even a somewhat disoriented wild boar didn’t quite know what to make of an entirely deserted Croisette this weekend.
The Palais des Festivals was transformed into a welcome center for the homeless and ailing in March, and local mayor David Lisnard recently told Le Monde, “The town has never been so beautiful and so sad.”
Here’s the wild boar, maybe he/she gets a L’Oréal deal next year:
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