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Italian cinemas reopen, France and the UK warm up the engines

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- Cinemas in Italy are open from today, but with which films remains uncertain. Many European countries are still in doubt, while France and the UK are looking at 17 May for reopening

Italian cinemas reopen, France and the UK warm up the engines
Nomadland by Chloé Zhao

Cinemas have the option of reopening from today in Italy, in the regions in the “yellow zone” (with a low rate of COVID-19 contagion), but there’s no certainty about how many theatres will return and with which films. In recent days, some distributors announced the first titles, starting with Nomadland, the film directed by Chloé Zhao which just won three Academy Awards with Best Film, Best Director and Best Actress (Frances McDormand) (read the news), which lands in cinemas on 29 April. There will be a “constant and gradual rise of screens that will resume activity, not a mass reopening. There are structures, such as the larger, peripheral ones, whose audience is mostly young, which cannot think of reopening with the possibility of doing the last showing at 7:30pm at the latest,” explained Luigi Lonigro, president of distributors in the Anica and director of 01 Distribution, referring to the 10pm curfew in force in Italy. But there are many signs of optimism coming from exhibitors, such as that of the Beltrade cinema in Milan, which celebrated the reopening by opening its doors at 6am for a mini-marathon with the projection of Dear Diary by Nanni Moretti, which was sold out.

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As can be read in the Cineuropa article which continuously updates on the situation, a few European countries have already reopen (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Lithuania, Montenegro, Serbia, Switzerland with the limitation of only 8 spectators per screening room, Romania and Norway with strict limitations, Portugal with the exception of 7 municipalities). Others did so in the past few days, like Switzerland, where cinemas have been reopening their doors gradually since April 21, with the appropriate anti-contagion measures (a maximum of 50 spectators per screening room and 1.5m apart) and programming American titles such as Wonder Woman 1984, Chaos Walking, The Nest, the Mexican title Los lobos, and some European films such as the Finnish Aalto [+see also:
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, in addition of course to many national productions. For the rest, openings are postponed until a later date.

Greater certainty for the United Kingdom, which has currently set 17 May as a reopening date with rather restrictive security measures and greater elasticity from mid-June. There is also talk of 17 May for France, where the Cannes Film Festival has been postponed to 6-17 July, and where at least 400 films are ready to be released, provided that the evolution of the pandemic remains within safety limits and with a reopening strategy that includes the first 3 weeks with 35% of seats available, and the next three at 50%, to reach the total capacity after this test period.

Italy went from 25% of indoor seats available at the temporary reopening in June 2020 to 50% today, with a maximum of 500 indoors and 1000 outdoors. The 26 April reopening “is a new start, a symbolic first step on the path,” commented Anec-Associazione Nazionale Esercenti Cinema president Mario Lorini, who explains how, while indoor cinemas have 4,000 screens, only 10-15 % of those cinemas have outside spaces, which is not sufficient to obtain the right conditions to restart the market in a structured way, and therefore to release all the films that are ready. "The films on the starting blocks ready to be released are many and important, there is production ready to restart from May and reach Christmas. This year, Italian sets were numerous, there was talk of over 200 productions, and we also have the return of American and European films with new releases in May, June and July.” Among the films announced for the coming weeks, in addition to Nomadland, are other Oscar winners, such as Mank (Lucky Red) and Minari (Academy 2), as well as Italian productions whose distribution had been blocked by the virus such as Everything’s Gonna Be Alright [+see also:
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, Bad Tales [+see also:
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, Hidden Away [+see also:
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. Lucky Red is also ready to release the Romanian winner of the Golden Bear in Berlin, Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn [+see also:
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, together with Pieces of a Woman [+see also:
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and Maternal [+see also:
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.

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(Translated from Italian)

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