Last weekend the 75th Cannes Film Festival came to an end.
After two years of Covid-19 dictated a pullback, the venerable festival threw caution to the wind and, without social distancing or mask requirements, went about business as usual. The cacophony of phlegmy coughs that filled the air in closely packed screenings was enough to give the timid reason to run.
The common phrase for organisers was: “We’re out a person, please be patient”.
As one organiser of an important pavilion commented: “They’re acting like Covid-19 is over. It isn’t. It’s still a thing. It has grounded a large number of our staff. Nobody cares.”
She was heavily pregnant and speaking from behind the optional mask.
In the Palais des Festivals en Congresses of Cannes, at a non-premiere event, journalists were packed in side by side despite the balcony above being empty.
Some organisers cancelled events as a precaution while people whispered this could become a superspreader, but most went ahead blindly.
Sidewalks teemed, the red carpet pulsated, and huge yachts — huge floating mansions — hosted the elite. Business was brisk and the beautiful and privileged dripped diamonds and designer wear. The wannabes stood in desperate nonchalance trying to access the exclusive plages — the extensions of the grand hotels that kidnap the beach across La Croisette and the promenade, and turn it into tented exclusive spaces where studios welcome the stars and security keeps out those not famous enough to be invited.