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Entertainment Venice reclaims spotlight as 1st COVID-era film fest opens

01:45  02 september  2020
01:45  02 september  2020 Source:   msn.com

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ROME — Venice is reclaiming its place as a top cultural destination with the opening of the Venice Film Festival — the first major in-person cinema showcase of the coronavirus era after Cannes canceled and other international festivals opted to go mostly online this year.

ROME – Venice is reclaiming its place as a top cultural destination with the opening of the Venice Film Festival — the first major in-person cinema Unlike neighboring Lombardy, which became the epicenter of the COVID -19 outbreak in Europe, Veneto largely kept the virus under control with early

Festival attendees cycle in front of the main cinema ahead of the start of the 77th edition of the Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy, Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020. Italy was among the countries hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, and the festival will serve as a celebration of its re-opening and a sign that the film world, largely on pause since March, is coming back as well. (Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP) © Provided by Associated Press Festival attendees cycle in front of the main cinema ahead of the start of the 77th edition of the Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy, Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020. Italy was among the countries hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, and the festival will serve as a celebration of its re-opening and a sign that the film world, largely on pause since March, is coming back as well. (Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)

VENICE (AP) — Venice is reclaiming its place as a top cultural destination with the opening of the Venice Film Festival — the first major in-person cinema showcase of the coronavirus era after Cannes canceled and other international festivals opted to go mostly online this year.

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ROME -- Venice is reclaiming its place as a top cultural destination with the opening of the Venice Film Festival — the first major in-person cinema showcase of the coronavirus era after Cannes canceled and other international festivals opted to go mostly online this year.

ROME (AP) — Venice is reclaiming its place as a top cultural destination with the opening of the Venice Film Festival — the first major in-person Unlike neighboring Lombardy, which became the epicenter of the COVID -19 outbreak in Europe, Veneto largely kept the virus under control with early

A festival attendee has their temperature checked ahead of the start of the 77th edition of the Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy, Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020. Italy was among the countries hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, and the festival will serve as a celebration of its re-opening and a sign that the film world, largely on pause since March, is coming back as well. (Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP) © Provided by Associated Press A festival attendee has their temperature checked ahead of the start of the 77th edition of the Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy, Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020. Italy was among the countries hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, and the festival will serve as a celebration of its re-opening and a sign that the film world, largely on pause since March, is coming back as well. (Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)

Italian director Andrea Segre, whose documentary of an ethereally empty Venice during lockdown was screened Tuesday, said the festival is sending the message that despite the risks and complications, “we need theaters for cinema.”

Medical professionals arrive ahead of the start of the 77th edition of the Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy, Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020. Italy was among the countries hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, and the festival will serve as a celebration of its re-opening and a sign that the film world, largely on pause since March, is coming back as well. (Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP) © Provided by Associated Press Medical professionals arrive ahead of the start of the 77th edition of the Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy, Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020. Italy was among the countries hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, and the festival will serve as a celebration of its re-opening and a sign that the film world, largely on pause since March, is coming back as well. (Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)

“It's like if you say to a painter that he can show his painting, or his fresco, only through the web," Segre said in an interview on the Lido. “It's exactly the same for us: Without the theater, our art has a handicap, it has a big handicap."

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ROME – Venice is reclaiming its place as a top cultural destination with the opening of the Venice Film Festival — the first major in-person cinema Unlike neighboring Lombardy, which became the epicenter of the COVID -19 outbreak in Europe, Veneto largely kept the virus under control with early

ROME -- Venice is reclaiming its place as a top cultural destination with the opening of the Venice Film Festival . It's the first major in-person cinema Unlike neighbouring Lombardy, which became the epicenter of the COVID -19 outbreak in Europe, Veneto largely kept the virus under control with early

But don’t be fooled. The 77th edition of the world’s oldest film festival opening Wednesday looks nothing like its predecessors.

The public is being barred from the red carpet, Hollywood stars and films are largely absent and face masks are required indoors.

Those strict measures are evidence of the hard line Venice and the surrounding Veneto region took to contain the virus when it first emerged in the lagoon city in late February. Unlike neighboring Lombardy, which became the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in Europe, Veneto largely kept the virus under control with early local lockdowns and broad testing once the virus was widespread.

Workers mount lights on the red carpet of the 77th edition of the Venice Film Festival at the Venice Lido, Italy, Monday, Aug. 31, 2020. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis) © Provided by Associated Press Workers mount lights on the red carpet of the 77th edition of the Venice Film Festival at the Venice Lido, Italy, Monday, Aug. 31, 2020. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)

La Biennale chief Robert Cicutto said the decision to hold the festival at all was an important sign of rebirth for Venice and the film industry, and said the experience on the Lido will serve as a “laboratory” for future cultural gatherings.

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Venice in spotlight as 1 st Covid - era film fest opens . Venice is reclaiming its place as a top cultural destination with the opening of the Venice Film Festival — the first major in-person cinema showcase of the coronavirus era after Cannes canceled and other international festivals opted to go

ROME (AP) — Venice is reclaiming its place as a top cultural destination with the opening of the Venice Film Festival — the first major in-person Unlike neighboring Lombardy, which became the epicenter of the COVID -19 outbreak in Europe, Veneto largely kept the virus under control with early

“It will be an experiment on the ground of how to confront an important event” in the COVID era, he said in presenting this year’s Venice lineup.

The Sept. 2-12 festival marks Italy’s return to the art world stage after it became the first country in the West to be slammed by COVID. Even Tom Cruise’s “Mission: Impossible 7,” in Venice at the time for three weeks of filming, had to pull out.

Festival workers receive their uniforms for the 77th edition of the Venice Film Festival at the Venice Lido, Italy, Monday, Aug. 31, 2020. The festival will take place from Sept. 2 through Sept. 12 in a more restrained format due the COVID-19 pandemic. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis) © Provided by Associated Press Festival workers receive their uniforms for the 77th edition of the Venice Film Festival at the Venice Lido, Italy, Monday, Aug. 31, 2020. The festival will take place from Sept. 2 through Sept. 12 in a more restrained format due the COVID-19 pandemic. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)

Italy’s strict 10-week lockdown largely tamed the virus, but infections are now rebounding after summer vacations. Health authorities are scrambling to test passengers at airports and seaports to try to identify imported cases before they can spread.

Guests to the glamorous film festival are not exempt. If they arrive from outside Europe’s open-border Schengen area, they will be tested upon arrival. Australian director Roderick Mackay, premiering his Outback frontier drama “The Furnace," has been quarantining in Italy so he could participate in person, his representative said.

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Venice is reclaiming its place as a top cultural destination with the opening of the Venice Film Festival - the first major in-person cinema Unlike neighboring Lombardy, which became the epicenter of the Covid -19 outbreak in Europe, Veneto largely kept the virus under control with early

Venice is reclaiming its place as a top cultural destination with the opening of the Venice Film Festival . "It will be an experiment on the ground of how to confront an important event” in the COVID era , he said in presenting this year’s Venice lineup.

Other measures to limit contagion include reserved seats, spaced apart, for all screenings and a requirement to wear masks even during screenings and outdoors.

“Clearly we have to abide by anti-COVID measures,” said Paola Mar, Venice’s culture chief. “Each of us has a personal responsibility. And if all of us do our jobs, we can limit the harm.”

Festival workers receive their uniforms for the 77th edition of the Venice Film Festival at the Venice Lido, Italy, Monday, Aug. 31, 2020. The festival will take place from Sept. 2 through Sept. 12 in a more restrained format due the COVID-19 pandemic. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis) © Provided by Associated Press Festival workers receive their uniforms for the 77th edition of the Venice Film Festival at the Venice Lido, Italy, Monday, Aug. 31, 2020. The festival will take place from Sept. 2 through Sept. 12 in a more restrained format due the COVID-19 pandemic. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)

But she said the show must go on, given the importance of the film festival and the Biennale’s other longer-term cultural contributions to Venice’s economy, which depends almost entirely on tourism.

Restrictions on travel from the U.S. to Europe have meant that Hollywood films, which often use Venice as a springboard for other festivals and ultimately the Oscars, are essentially no-shows this year.

That means no sightings of Venice regulars George Clooney and Brad Pitt arriving by water taxi, no red carpet photo ops with Lady Gaga, who premiered “A Star is Born" here, or Joaquin Phoenix, whose “Joker” won Venice’s top prize, the Golden Lion, last year before going on to Oscar glory.

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Festival workers receive their uniforms for the 77th edition of the Venice Film Festival at the Venice Lido, Italy, Monday, Aug. 31, 2020. The festival will take place from Sept. 2 through Sept. 12 in a more restrained format due the COVID-19 pandemic. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis) © Provided by Associated Press Festival workers receive their uniforms for the 77th edition of the Venice Film Festival at the Venice Lido, Italy, Monday, Aug. 31, 2020. The festival will take place from Sept. 2 through Sept. 12 in a more restrained format due the COVID-19 pandemic. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)

This year’s slightly reduced lineup still contains in-competition films from a variety of countries, but will be a mostly European affair. Italian films are well represented, including the first Italian opening-night film in years, the out-of-competition family drama “Lacci” by Daniele Luchetti.

Two Italian documentaries filmed during lockdown are making their debuts. In addition to Segre’s “Molecules,” director Luca Guadagnino, whose documentary about Italian shoemaker Salvatore Ferragamo is an official out-of-competition film, offered up a last-minute short “Fiori, Fiori, Fiori!,” about reconnecting with his childhood friends in Sicily during the lockdown.

Festival workers receive their uniforms for the 77th edition of the Venice Film Festival at the Venice Lido, Italy, Monday, Aug. 31, 2020. The festival will take place from Sept. 2 through Sept. 12 in a more restrained format due the COVID-19 pandemic. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis) © Provided by Associated Press Festival workers receive their uniforms for the 77th edition of the Venice Film Festival at the Venice Lido, Italy, Monday, Aug. 31, 2020. The festival will take place from Sept. 2 through Sept. 12 in a more restrained format due the COVID-19 pandemic. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)

Spanish director Pedro Almodovar is premiering his first-ever English-language film, “The Human Voice,” which he filmed and edited in the weeks after Spain’s lockdown ended. The short film, an adaptation of the Jean Cocteau play of the same name, stars Tilda Swinton, who along with Hong Kong director Ann Hui will be picking up a Golden Lion Lifetime Achievement award in Venice this year.

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File - Actors Ruth Negga, from left, Brad Pitt, Liv Tyler and director James Gray arrive for the photo call of 'Ad Astra' at the Venice Film Festival. The 77th Venice Film Festival will kick off on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020, but this year's edition will be unlike any others. Coronavirus restrictions will mean fewer Hollywood stars, no crowds interacting with actors and other virus safeguards will be deployed. (AP Photo/Dejan Jankovic, File) © Provided by Associated Press File - Actors Ruth Negga, from left, Brad Pitt, Liv Tyler and director James Gray arrive for the photo call of 'Ad Astra' at the Venice Film Festival. The 77th Venice Film Festival will kick off on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020, but this year's edition will be unlike any others. Coronavirus restrictions will mean fewer Hollywood stars, no crowds interacting with actors and other virus safeguards will be deployed. (AP Photo/Dejan Jankovic, File)

Cate Blanchett heads the main jury, which added Matt Dillon at the last minute after Romanian director Cristi Puiu pulled out.

File - Singer and actress Lady Gaga, right, and actor Bradley Cooper arrive at the Venice Film Festival for the photo call of the film 'A Star Is Born'. The 77th Venice Film Festival will kick off on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020, but this year's edition will be unlike any others. Coronavirus restrictions will mean fewer Hollywood stars, no crowds interacting with actors and other virus safeguards will be deployed. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File) © Provided by Associated Press File - Singer and actress Lady Gaga, right, and actor Bradley Cooper arrive at the Venice Film Festival for the photo call of the film 'A Star Is Born'. The 77th Venice Film Festival will kick off on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020, but this year's edition will be unlike any others. Coronavirus restrictions will mean fewer Hollywood stars, no crowds interacting with actors and other virus safeguards will be deployed. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

But other A-list celebrities are largely staying away or participating in press conferences and panels via Zoom. Venice itself still has a long way to go to recover from the economic devastation of a pandemic, the halt to cruise ship stops and a lockdown on a city beloved by the jet-set.

File - Actor George Clooney arrives in Venice, Italy on a taxi boat for the Venice Film Festival. The 77th Venice Film Festival will kick off on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020, but this year's edition will be unlike any others. Coronavirus restrictions will mean fewer Hollywood stars, no crowds interacting with actors and other virus safeguards will be deployed. (AP Photo/Joel Ryan, File) © Provided by Associated Press File - Actor George Clooney arrives in Venice, Italy on a taxi boat for the Venice Film Festival. The 77th Venice Film Festival will kick off on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020, but this year's edition will be unlike any others. Coronavirus restrictions will mean fewer Hollywood stars, no crowds interacting with actors and other virus safeguards will be deployed. (AP Photo/Joel Ryan, File)

Venice was already brought to its knees by the historic “acqua alta” floods last November, which raised deep questions about how Italy's lagoon city will function as climate change and rising sea levels grow to be increasing threats.

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Police officers arrive ahead of the start of the 77th edition of the Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy, Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020. Italy was among the countries hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, and the festival will serve as a celebration of its re-opening and a sign that the film world, largely on pause since March, is coming back as well. (Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP) © Provided by Associated Press Police officers arrive ahead of the start of the 77th edition of the Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy, Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020. Italy was among the countries hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, and the festival will serve as a celebration of its re-opening and a sign that the film world, largely on pause since March, is coming back as well. (Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)

“The city hasn’t worked since November,” said gondolier Maurizio Carlotto. “There’s nothing. Absolutely nothing. The hotels that are open are half-empty. You look at the restaurants at night, they’re empty.”

“To relaunch Venice, and tourism in general, we need this virus to end,” he said, looking out at an eerily empty canal. “They have to find the antidote.”

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Visual journalist Brian Hendrie contributed from Venice.

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Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak


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Iranian director calls Venice premiere 'like a new life' .
VENICE, Italy (AP) — Restricted travel, quarantine and positive COVID-19 tests meant that Majid Majidi’s appearance at the Venice Film Festival for Iranian drama “Sun Children” (Khorshid) was an achievement in itself. The film follows the story of Ali and his three friends on the streets of Tehran, as they try to find hidden treasure, digging a tunnel underneath a local charity school for street kids and child laborers. “It was difficult to comeThe film follows the story of Ali and his three friends on the streets of Tehran, as they try to find hidden treasure, digging a tunnel underneath a local charity school for street kids and child laborers.

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