Macron scuppers Cannes plans

President declares no festivals until mid-July at the earliest

by Richard Mowe

Picture perfect … the Cannes Film Festival red carpet snappers at work during last year’s festival
Picture perfect … the Cannes Film Festival red carpet snappers at work during last year’s festival Photo: Richard Mowe
The official cancellation of this year’s 73rd Cannes Film Festival took a step closer tonight when French president Emmanuel Macron announced that the lockdown would continue until 11 May while festivals and events attracting large crowds would not be allowed to take place until mid-July at the earliest.

These and others measures unveiled in a televised address to the nation indicate that the Cannes organisers most recent position of considering a regrouped festival at the end of June and beginning of July would not be allowed.

The president also indicated that theatres, cinemas, restaurants and bars as well as non-food shops would also would stay shuttered beyond the 11 May.

Nurseries and schools would be opened under strict rules after 11 May but Universities and colleges would not start up again until the autumn. The wearing of masks could become obligatory in public places such as transport and certain places of work.

Although most major festivals on the Riviera and elsewhere in France have been cancelled the Cannes organisers conspicuously have held out a window of potential opportunity for late June/early July after they postponed the event from its original dates of 12-23 May.

They had hoped that the coronavirus pandemic might have abated by then but the declaration by the President will have taken the decision of any June/July event out of their hands. Cannes as of tonight had still to make an official pronouncement on the effect of the new restrictions.

The first edition of the Cannes Film Festival was halted by the outbreak of the Second World War and in 1968 the Festival ended half way through after such film-makers as Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut brought it down in solidarity with the student and striker protests.

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