'At last, cinema is back': Face masks and Vanessa Paradis as Deauville Film Festival opens

Vanessa Paradis at the Deauville American Film Festival on September 4, 2020.
Vanessa Paradis at the Deauville American Film Festival on September 4, 2020. © FRANCE 24

The 46th Deauville American Film Festival opened on Friday, September 4, with jury president Vanessa Paradis among the stars on the red carpet. But amid the Covid-19 pandemic, and with many American filmmakers and actors unable to attend the event in the north of France, this year's is perhaps the most unique edition of the festival in its history.


Despite the lack of the usual host of American stars, the public turned out in force for the festival's grand opening, with many arriving hours in advance to claim a prime spot from which to watch the red carpet.

The Covid-19 pandemic and the strict safety measures put in place by festival organisers was not enough to put them off.

"I know they disinfect the seats inside the cinemas," one festivalgoer told FRANCE 24 as he waited for the stars to arrive. "And with wearing masks mandatory, there shouldn't be a problem."

Most had come to see Vanessa Paradis, the actress and singer who heads this year's jury for the main prize.

As she arrived, she hailed the festival as a key moment in the return of the film industry following anti-Covid measures that saw many cinemas shuttered around the world.

"It's such a joy to go to the cinema. At last, cinema is back," she said.

Deauville is one of the first major film festivals, along with the Venice Film Festival, to take place this year. This edition will also see it screen a number of films that would have been shown at Cannes, which was cancelled because of the pandemic.

"Art is life and cinema brings that hope," festival director Bruno Barde told FRANCE 24. " We are not going to defeat the virus but we can create desire, lessen the fear. That's the point of a festival. And since the start we've fought for the festival to happen."

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