The Venice Film Festival opened on Wednesday with strict safety measures in place, the industry’s first international competition since the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) hit.
A total of 18 films are vying to grab the top prize and help movie buffs forget the pandemic, at least for a while.
At Wednesday’s opening film, Lacc by Italian director Daniele Luchetti, the theatre was just half full with journalists, whose temperatures were taken before being allowed inside.
On the eve of the annual high-profile competition on Venice’s Lido, located on mainland Italy, dozens of red safety signs were installed throughout the venue. Their inclusion in the event attested to the peculiarity of this year’s event.
About 6,000 people are expected to turn out this year, representing only about half the festival’s usual number of participants. The significant reduction comes as border restrictions around the world have limited the ability of many to travel.
Most of Hollywood’s top stars will be not attend, with Australian actress Cate Blanchett supplying this year’s star power as Jury President.