Now, with the Cannes Film Festival's decision not to go in its original form because of the Coronavirus pandemic, attention is shifting to the next most important event on the European calendar, Venice Film Festival, scheduled to run from September 2 to 12. Yes, there is still a lot of time for Venice to begin, and it is held on the small island of Lido.
Although Italy has said that it will soon start to recover from the pandemic, one cannot forget how badly the country was hit by the virus with 22,000 deaths and 170,000 covid-19 positive cases.
The moot point is, will the Italians, given the humungous tragedy, be in a mood to celebrate cinema on the Lido, which off mainland Venice.
The prolonged lockdown in Italy has been extended till May 3, but there are serious reservations whether cinemas will reopen or other social forms of entertainment happen in a hurry. Obviously, there is bound to be huge fears about getting into theatres.
However, the managerial team at Venice is going ahead with movie selections and other arrangements. Like Cannes's chief Thierry Fremaux, the Venice Festival head, Alberto Barbera, has ruled out a virtual Festival.
Given the present state of affairs, a collaboration between Cannes and Venice – about which there were some suggestions – seems but a distant possibility.
Some are hopeful that since the Venice Film Festival takes place on an island, it may go on. A closely monitored Festival is a possibility, but then Italy has to begin breathing easy. Otherwise, a cinematic celebration may appear so out of place.
(Gautaman Bhaskaran is author, commentator and movie critic)
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