This year, there has been much concern over the fate of the upcoming Cannes Film Festival, which has already been pushed back from its traditional May dates to now take place in July from the 6th to the 19th.
Festival organizers were hoping that the two-month delay would allow the event to take place this year, giving extra time to benefit from the continued rollout of vaccinations across Europe and the U.S. Recently, French health authorities have been on a course to ease restrictions on gatherings, including cinema screenings as well as larger public events such as Cannes.
On Wednesday, June 9th, the country will raise its maximum allowed capacity at movie theatres from 35% to 65% and push back its mandated nighttime curfew from 9 pm to 11 pm. Cannes 2021 announced last week that it will welcome visitors from the U.S., U.K., and most countries if they can show proof of vaccination and submit a negative COVID-19 PCR test upon arrival.
Attendees who cannot show proof of vaccination will also be allowed to attend but will be required to self-isolate for seven days upon arrival in France, attest to a “compelling reason” for their travel to France and attendance at the festival, and submit a negative PCR test. Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, France’s minister of tourism, said, “Nothing would be worse than to enter yet another COVID wave because we were not careful enough.”
The buzz is building for the lineup of films scheduled to premiere at this year’s festival. One of the top contenders is Flag Day, directed by and starring Sean Penn. Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch has also drawn attention, featuring a large cast of A-listers, including Timothee Chalamet, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Benicio Del Toro, and Owen Wilson and Bill Murray among others.
Among the 2,000 films submitted this year for consideration, the program will include many shorts and features that were shot during the lockdowns, bearing witness to the common experience the world has shared over the 18 months. Thierry Frémaux, the festival’s artistic director, explained, “Cinema will bear the traces of this. It will remember this moment.”
See also: Cannes Travel: No Quarantine For Fully Vaccinated U.K., U.S. Visitors (Variety)