First came news of its postponement from its usual May berth and now it looks like this year’s Cannes Film Festival will be unrecognisable from its usual self – if it happens at all. According to a statement from the organisers: ‘It is clearly difficult to assume that the Festival de Cannes could be held this year in its original form.’
The decision follows on from Monday’s announcement by President Macron banning all public events in France until mid July at the earliest. That knocks out the fest’s earlier plan to shift into a June-July timeframe which, says Cannes’ president, is now ‘no longer an option’.
So what comes next? There’s no word on that yet, only that this again falls short of a cancellation of the festival – something that’s never happened outside of wartime. The organisers say: ‘The Festival de Cannes, an essential pillar for the film industry, must explore all contingencies, by making Cannes 2020 real, in [one] way or another.’
Short of sticking the whole thing on Netflix – which would count as a major surprise – the challenge will be making sure films still get showcased to the right people. Even so, the knock-on effects threaten to be profound: last year’s Palme d’Or winner ‘Parasite’ may not have gone on to Oscar glory without the rapturous reception it received at Cannes.
Three festival sidebar events – Directors’ Fortnight, International Critics’ Week and the indie-cinema thread, ACID – have been cancelled.
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