COMMUNITY: In the shadows of Las Vegas, real people, in an unreal situation, face an uncertain future.
Carmen Gray
Freelance film critic and regular contributor to Modern Times Review.
Published date: March 23, 2020

Some say nostalgia for past cultural epochs has been speeding up in recent times; that a decade barely finishes before we recycle its fads. Even so, it’s a jolt to feel misty-eyed for the cinema-going times of a mere fortnight ago, when the Berlinale was in full hectic flow and the coronavirus, already sadly ravaging Central China, had started to register on most attendees’ radars but had not yet shut down festivals and theatres as physical gathering places across many parts of the globe. That western complacency did not last long. With wild uncertainty prevailing around how long the pandemic and its disruption to normality will last, derailed festivals have been tentatively rescheduling dates, in fragile hope rather than confidence.

Cancellations & postponements

Cannes has forecasted late June as a potential alternative. Israel’s Docaviv and Czech Republic’s Finále Plzeň have picked new slots for September, and others, including Thessaloniki, have postponed to an as yet undecided date. There is also an urge to find alternate models by which called-off festivals can still happen right now; to bring their programmes to audiences who need cinema’s capability of expanding worlds more than ever as daily life shrinks to the home quarantine couch and its immediate vicinity, and to find a home for the long hours of creative work that have been tripped up just as theatre curtains were about to open. It makes perfect sense, then, that some festivals, such as Denmark’s CPH:DOX and Switzerland’s Visions du Reel, have moved their festivals online, with audiences in their countries (and in some cases, further afield) able to stream the selections.

Some say nostalgia for past cultural epochs has been speeding up in recent times; that a decade barely …


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