Cannes Film Festival postponed as coronavirus sweeps France

The 2020 Cannes Film Festival has been postponed due to the continuing spread of coronavirus across France.The prestigious event was scheduled to be held in the city on the French Riviera from 12 to 23 May, but organisers confirmed on Thursday that the…

The 2020 Cannes Film Festival has been postponed due to the continuing spread of coronavirus across France.

The prestigious event was scheduled to be held in the city on the French Riviera from 12 to 23 May, but organisers confirmed on Thursday that they are now looking at holding the festival later this year after the Covid-19 pandemic has peaked.

More than 246,000 have been infected with the virus around the world since the outbreak began in Wuhan, China in December, and over 10,000 people have died.

In France alone, there are almost 11,000 cases of Covid-19, with 372 fatalities, and on Tuesday, President Emmanuel Macron ordered a 15-day lockdown across the country to try and contain the outbreak.

“At this time of global health crisis, our thoughts go to the victims of the Covid-19 and we express our solidarity with all of those who are fighting the disease,” festival executives said in a statement, noting that their decision was made in light of the strict lockdown.

They are reportedly considering several options, according to editors at Variety, including holding the festival at the end of June.

However, organisers insisted they will be regularly assessing the “French and international health situation” in the coming weeks and will make a further announcement about the future of this year’s festival in due course.

“In the meantime, the Festival de Cannes lends its vocal support to all of those who firmly call on everyone to respect the general lockdown, and ask to show solidarity in these difficult times for the entire world,” the statement concluded.

Just last week, festival president Pierre Lescure had said he was “reasonably optimistic” the 2020 event would go ahead, after suggesting the coronavirus pandemic would peak “at the end of March and that we will breathe a little better in April”.

The Cannes Film Festival press conference, which was originally scheduled for 16 April, has also been delayed.

© Cover Media

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu named president of Cannes Film Festival jury

Oscar-winning director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu has been appointed the jury president of the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. The Birdman filmmaker, the first Mexican to be given the prestigious position, will head up the jury, to be comprised of members…

Oscar-winning director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu has been appointed the jury president of the 2019 Cannes Film Festival.

The Birdman filmmaker, the first Mexican to be given the prestigious position, will head up the jury, to be comprised of members of the movie industry, and help decide what film competing in the official selection should win the coveted Palme d’Or.

“Cannes is a festival that has been important to me since the beginning of my career,” Inarritu said in a statement. “I am humbled and thrilled to return this year with the immense honour of presiding over the Jury. Cinema runs through the veins of the planet and this festival has been its heart. We on the jury will have the privilege to witness the new and excellent work of fellow filmmakers from all over the planet. This is a true delight and a responsibility, that we will assume with passion and devotion.”

Pierre Lescure, festival president, and Thierry Fremaux, artistic director, said they are “delighted” that Inarritu, who won back-to-back Best Director Oscars for 2015’s Birdman and 2016’s The Revenant, had accepted their invitation.

“Not only is he a daring filmmaker and a director who is full of surprises, Alejandro is also a man of conviction, an artist of his time,” they said in a joint statement.

The 55-year-old’s relationship with Cannes dates back to 2000, when his debut feature Amores Perros premiered there, and he most recently went back in 2017 as his virtual reality experience Carne y Arena (Flesh and Sand) was selected for the competition.

Inarritu follows in the footsteps of his Babel star Cate Blanchett, who served as president in 2018 and awarded the Palme d’Or to Shoplifters with the help of jury members including Ava DuVernay and Kristen Stewart.

The 72nd Cannes Film Festival runs between 14 and 25 May (19).

© Cover Media