The Venice Film Festival kicked off yesterday, signalling a proper return to actual film screenings after a year of virtual access to the world of cinema. The stunning line-up features work by some of the best filmmakers of our time, including Pedro Almodóvar, whose new project Parallel Mothers was the opening film at the festival. The line-up also includes exciting new projects by the likes of Paul Schrader and Paolo Sorrentino.
While discussing the crippling effects of the pandemic and the impact on the film industry, festival director Alberto Barbera said: “I have the feeling and impression that everyone is willing to come back, ready to start again, ready to release the films that stayed on the shelf for two years and the hope is that the audience will come back to the theatres, which is the best way to watch a movie.”
Due to the lingering threats posed by the rise of the Delta variant, checkpoints and other appropriate measures have been adopted by the organisers of the film festival. While there were several checkpoints placed throughout the venue, huge crowds lined up and were rushed through by police authorities without the proper verifications in order to ensure that the screenings started on time.
In addition, the digital ticket booking system was in shambles since already booked seats were occupied by other people causing a mix-up in the seating arrangement. Such mismanagement and lack of crowd control suggest that the return to the tradition of physical film festivals might just prove to be an unpleasant one for audience members.
“We all know that after the reopening the situation will be completely different from the past. (Streaming) platforms are there to stay, cinema, theatres will not disappear,” Barbera said. “But we will face sort of a double system … theatres and platforms.”
“I think it’s a great opportunity for the audience and for the filmmakers as well because it means a lot of investment in terms of productions,” he added. “We are already adjusting to this huge amount of money coming to the cinema industry everywhere. It’s a good moment for cinema. It’s never been so vital.”