The Cannes film festival has bowed to the inevitable and announced that its 2020 edition cannot go ahead in “its original form”.
In a statement, festival management said: “It is clearly difficult to assume that the Festival de Cannes could be held this year in its original form.”
The move has followed the extension of measures designed to combat the coronavirus pandemic by France’s president, Emmanuel Macron. As well as ruling that the national lockdown would remain in place until 11 May, it was announced that no festivals would be allowed to go ahead until mid-July at the earliest.
The festival had already announced that it would no longer stage its annual event in its traditional mid-May slot, suggesting it was hoping to reschedule events for late June and early July. At the time, Cannes 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”.
However, the festival now says: “We acknowledged that [this] is no longer an option.”
Cannes still appears to hold out hope that the festival can operate in some form this year, saying they will “explore all contingencies” to make “Cannes 2020 real, in one way or another”.
“Many uncertainties are still reigning over the international health situation. We hope to be able to communicate promptly regarding the shapes that this Cannes 2020 will take.”
The next day the festival’s two parallel sidebars, the Directors’ Fortnight and Critics’ Week, issued a statement saying they had cancelled their 2020 editions. The statement added: “In order to support the whole film industry impacted by the current circumstances, each section, in consultation with the Cannes Film Festival, is looking at the best way to keep on supporting the films submitted to its 2020 edition”.