Cannes Is Back! Celebrated French Film Festival Reopens

On Tuesday, the famed Cannes international film festival kicked off, after being suspended last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Social distancing protocols in place at the first film festival since the health crisis have been apparent, but have not diminished the excitement for the event.

Last year, thousands of attendees from the world of movies and media had to change their plans, causing grief for all but especially those travelling from North America and the distance involved.

However, Cannes is lifting off again this year with a rescheduled edition that chose the Sparks musical Annette, a film starring Marion Cotillard and Adam Driver, for its long-awaited high-profile opening slot.

Under the Holy Motors director Leos Carax’s direction, it tells the story of a talented couple experiencing the birth of their first child, a mysterious girl with an exceptional destiny that changes their lives.

The film was screened on Tuesday, July 6, after the festival’s opening ceremony while simultaneously premiering in France.

The stars invited to the festival attended the red carpet of this year’s edition maskless. However, organizers required attendees Covid-free health passes to enter and have called off many of the sophisticated, glitzy after-parties.

US actor Adam Driver, who plays Annette’s leading character, said: “Covid is still there, but being here for the return of the festival, in the opening film… it’s a huge sense of relief and excitement.”

Likewise, Eve Gabereau, Managing Director of UK distributor Modern Films, described returning to Cannes as a daunting and surreal experience, adding: “it is important and great to be going – for the industry at large, professionally for my company, and for me personally.”

She stated that the festival was so important because of the excitement it creates around new films and talent, allowing the industry to come together and “build the year ahead.”

Cannes’ reopening came to fill a vital gap in the film industry ecosystem, which was hit hard by the pandemic. Estimated figures suggest the global industry lost around $32 billion in 2020 when theaters closed and films, documentaries and festivals were suspended.

Cannes Film Festival’s rescheduled edition also marks some historical milestones.

The jury’s members were headed for the first time by a black man, US director Spike Lee. Additionally, it had a female majority this year, including French-Canadian singer Mylene Farmer and American actress Maggie Gyllenhaal.