Cinephilia Remains Resilient

Jia Zhangke’s Visit (2020)

Karlovy Vary is the latest film festival to announce that it sees no other viable option than to cancel this year’s edition, which would have taken place in the Czech resort town in July. But cinephilia remains resilient. Twenty of the world’s top festivals, including Cannes, Venice, Berlin, Sundance—and Karlovy Vary—will contribute programming to We Are One: A Global Film Festival, a ten-day online event organized by Tribeca and YouTube and freely accessible around the world. The roll call of participating festivals—Toronto, London, Tokyo, New York, Locarno, San Sebastián, Guadalajara, Mumbai, and so on—conveys something of the spirit of the project.

From May 29 through June 7, viewers will be treated to “new and classic” features and short films in a wide array of genres as well as conversations about the movies. A spokesperson for Cannes has told the Hollywood Reporter’s Scott Roxborough that the festival will offer a few of its master classes, but no films. And Screen’s Jeremy Kay emphasizes that We Are One “will not be a platform for new work that could get world premiere slots at upcoming major festivals.” But the roster of participants is promising, and we should be hearing more about the lineup in the next few weeks. Audiences will be encouraged to donate what they can to the World Health Organization’s Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund.

As Todd Spangler points out in Variety, one of the festivals not taking part in We Are One is SXSW, most likely because Amazon’s Prime Video has just begun streaming thirty-nine features, shorts, and series originally slated to premiere in Austin in March. These selections will be free to view in the U.S. through May 6, and at the Ringer, Manuela Lazic previews ten titles she recommends.

The Latest

In other news from Texas, the state’s movie theaters will be allowed to open up again on Friday. “This is permission to open, not a requirement,” says Governor Greg Abbott. Variety’s Gene Maddaus reports that the major theater chains will likely keep their doors closed until “at least July. Georgia allowed its theaters to reopen on Monday, though as yet it appears that few, if any, have chosen to do so.” Alamo Drafthouse, the Austin-based chain that closed its forty-one locations in mid-March, will not reopen any of them this weekend. “But know this,” says the company, “when we do open, we will be providing the safest possible experience for both our staff and our guests, and we can’t wait to see you all again!”

On Thursday, from noon to 10 p.m. EST, Ava DuVernay and her distribution company, Array, will host a tweet-a-thon featuring over fifty filmmakers including Guillermo del Toro, Julie Dash, Yance Ford, Jill Soloway, Alma Har’el, Patty Jenkins, Jon Chu, Mira Nair, Bill Duke, and Robert Townsend. “The Array Film Fellowship is our way of conjuring community, creativity, and conversation while we’re all staying at home during these unprecedented times,” says DuVernay.

The Thessaloniki International Film Festival has begun rolling out the short films comprising Spaces, a project inspired by Georges Perec’s essay collection Species of Spaces and Other Pieces. Embedded above is Jia Zhangke’s contribution, Visit. And Jean-Luc Godard’s recent Instagram Live conversation with Swiss filmmaker Lionel Baier is now available with English subtitles.

Another recommended watch is The Hardest Working Cat in Showbiz, a delightful adaptation of filmmaker and critic Dan Sallitt’s essay about the accomplished feline actor Orangey by Sofia Bohdanowicz (MS Slavic 7). For more home viewing tips, turn to Vulture, where the editors have gathered titles from various interviews, tweets, and so on from directors such as Claire Denis, Ari Aster, Ruben Östlund, Kleber Mendonça Filho, Rian Johnson, and Luca Guadagnino.

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