At Cannes under Covid-19, glamour gets unmasked

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For practically everyone who has come to the Cannes Film Festival after months in varied levels of lockdown and warning, the transition is head-spinning.

Even in regular years, Cannes is an onslaught. But this time, plunging into full-capacity theaters and teeming purple carpets is like getting into one other world. The morning after the Val Kilmer documentary Val premiered at Cannes, its co-director Ting Poo was nonetheless reeling.

“Yesterday was so surreal. Just seeing the film with a full theater, and here at the most prestigious film festival,” mentioned Poo. “To go from not being around people to that experience in a day was incredible.”

The pandemic is way from invisible at Cannes. A adverse Covid-19 check is required each 48 hours for even these vaccinated — until they received their pictures within the European Union. Moviegoers put on masks indoors. Everything is a bit of muted. Usually well-booked motels have vacancies. Screenings that may usually depart a whole lot queuing outdoors don’t refill. The typical tuxedoed ticket-seekers praying for a handout have been pushed away from the Palais, the pageant hub, to clear house.

Jury members Mati Diop, Kleber Mendonca Filho, Jessica Hausner, Tahar Rahim, Mylene Farmer, Melanie Laurent, and Spike Lee pose for photographers. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)

But in locations just like the Cannes purple carpet, life is nearly regular — if “normal” can ever apply to a stretch of carpet the place coteries of stars drift in each few hours like parade floats. Glamour has been unmasked, possibly greater than some other time within the final yr and a half of pandemic.

Over the primary few days of the 74th Cannes Film Festival — held two months later than typical, and after final yr’s version was scrubbed completely — the purple carpet has regarded a lot because it has at all times earlier than. Marion Cotillard, Bella Hadid, Matt Damon, Helen Mirren and Adam Driver have all strolled alongside, although they could have all been outclassed, fashion-wise, by Spike Lee and his flamingo-pink Louis Vuitton swimsuit. Most stroll unmasked, because the carpet is outside and most attending are vaccinated — although proof isn’t required. And there aren’t any fewer photographers than typical jockeying for stars’ consideration.

The spectacle has picked up proper the place it left off. Nature, even the Cannes sequined selection, is therapeutic.

“It’s a little bit like a strange dream, like waking up from this nap of two years doing nothing and suddenly: Boom,” mentioned Avshalom Pollak, star of Nadav Lapid’s Ahed’s Knee, an impassioned Israeli drama competing for the Palme d’Or. “There is a very particular kind of feeling to it because it’s like: Where is the world going? Is it restarting? Is it changing? What’s going on here?”

cannes 2021 covid Vincent De Paul on the coronavirus testing middle on the 74th Cannes Film Festival. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)

Cannes is happening on the heels of France easing Covid-19 restrictions and reopening worldwide journey. About half the French have obtained not less than one vaccination shot, whereas 38% are absolutely vaccinated. But the delta variant has pushed infections again up barely lately, stoking fears of a resurgence. On Friday, French Health Minister Olivier Véran mentioned the delta variant would doubtless grow to be France’s dominant pressure this weekend.

That, together with photographs of unmasked attendees at premieres, has pushed the pageant to extend pre-screening masks reminders. Swarming beachside after events have been curtailed, within the motels alongside the Croisette movie publicists and executives have pushed their chairs out onto open-air balconies. Cannes mayor David Lisnard has even employed a pair of Covid-19-sniffing canines to assist with screening.

Ahead of the pageant, its director Thierry Frémaux mentioned dinners can be extra favored this yr than cocktails. On the sun-dabbled French Riviera, most eating places are unfold out on the sidewalks. One main concession: Frémaux isn’t greeting friends on the high of the Palais stairs with a kiss — although there have been just a few rogue smooches.

“The pandemic is not conquered” Frémaux mentioned on Tuesday. “So we all have to be careful, even though most festival-goers are vaccinated.”

2021 cannes film festival Photographers take footage on the photograph name on the 74th Cannes Film Festival. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

But since there’s such variation nation to nation in vaccination proof — the U.S., for instance, has no official vaccine passport — the pageant is requiring most to check each different day. The joke is that this yr a adverse check is the most well liked ticket in Cannes. And whereas at first some complained concerning the less-than-elegant strategy of retreating to a cubicle to fill a tube with saliva, the tented lab simply down the road from the Palais had grow to be an everyday cease for festivalgoers — similar to the Palais Nespresso bar, solely much less refreshing.

The specifically erected testing web site is staffed by 60 medical college college students. The lab’s director, Guillaume Armana, mentioned Friday that they had been conducting as much as 4,000 exams day by day.

“We are working with the festival and the regional agency,” mentioned Armana, who mentioned any constructive exams can be confidential. “For now we have maybe 10,000 people to test and everything is under control. It’s the best way to make a festival again here in Cannes and to let the people have a new life.”

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