The Festival Palace at Cannes has seen hundreds of galas in which men and women are dressed to kill or at least look their gorgeous best. People to the Cannes Film Festival would die to get a ticket to be on the Red Carpet leading up to a gala evening -- an attendance that imposed strict dress regulations for men, not for women. Men had to be in their black suits with a bow tie.
But the chic Palace has now been turned into a shelter for the homeless, given the Coronavirus pandemic. Up to 80 people will get clean living space, food and medicines.
This year's Festival has been postponed from its usual mid-May dates to the end of June or July. The Cannes Mayor, David Lisnard (a city which liberally funds the Festival), said “the measure was needed to protect both the homeless and the entire population from the spread of the coronavirus, which has resulted in close to 2,000 deaths in France till now.
There are many other homeless men and women in Cannes who have been accommodated in hotels – which have been having a hard time with the cancellation of one event after another. So far so good, but the million-dollar question – to use a cliche – is whether the 73rd edition of the Cannes Film Festival would be held at all – even in June or July.
However, the Festival says the event – often called the Queen of all – will go ahead, that is if the Coronavirus pandemic abates. The Festival said on its website that it consulted stakeholders, who urged a postponement, not cancellation if possible. “Every stakeholder in the sector asked us not to give up on holding it this year,” it said.
The Festival, in the meantime, is continuing to accept movie submissions, and the deadline for accreditations, including those for the media, has been extended.
Like India, France is now under a lockdown and has 25,000 confirmed Coronavirus cases. About 2000 people have died. Festival organisers have said that they needed to “show solidarity with the country, and the rest of the world, as everyone tries to come through the crisis. It would be absurd to fixate on the dates of a cultural event when the whole world is living through such a painful time.”
(Author, commentator and movie Gautaman Bhaskaran has covered Cannes for almost three decades)