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After COVID-19 Cut, Global Film Industry Looks To Bounce Back

Inside a cinema complex in Slovenia
Inside a cinema complex in Slovenia

No crisis has ever hit the entire film industry as badly as the coronavirus lockdown. With sets empty, movie premieres postponed, screenings canceled and box offices closed, the global film industry has been largely frozen in time — and revenue. Even as activity is gradually resuming, it will take time for the movie business to recover and when it does, the cinema landscape may never be quite the same – either on set or on screens.

The Cannes Film Festival unveiled its 56 Official Selection titles by live stream Wednesday evening in Paris, two weeks after the 2020 Cannes edition was originally due to run on its iconic red carpet. Despite the lack of physical event and the delay, the Festival's chief Thierry Frémaux told Le Monde that COVID-19 couldn't be allowed to destroy the event completely. "If the Festival couldn't take its usual form, we needed to present it another way — but never would it disappear."

Only 20% of the cinema can be used at a time, which is far from profitable.

Meanwhile in India, the country's signature musical-and-drama driven film industry has also been hit hard by the Covid-19 crisis. According to the country's top producers, distributors and actors, Bollywood will take at least two years to recover financially from the coronavirus pandemic, which is threatening big-ticket projects and putting tens of thousands of jobs at risk.

That's why some Bollywood background dancers – an indispensable part of Hindi films – have urged the film fraternity to help them in these difficult times, reported the daily Hindustan Times.

A video featuring some of them holding placards, emphasizing that they ‘work on a per day income basis' and some have to support entire families, has gone viral.

No festival but drive-in cinemas in Cannes — Photo: L.Urman/Starface/ZUMA

On the smaller art-house cinema circuit, there's a different calculation, post-coronavirus. In Hamburg, as reported in Die Welt, movie theaters that have been closed since mid-March are now beginning to reopen under strict hygiene and social distancing requirements. With the regulation to keep a minimum distance of 1.5 meters, only 20% of the cinema can be used at a time, which is far from profitable.

Opening overnight does not make any sense since there are no new attractive films nor commercials for refinancing, points out Felix Grassmann, who runs the Abaton arthouse cinema.

Although a few movie theaters found a way to keep their audiences happy by setting up drive-in cinemas, operators agree that these are not a real alternative to the cinema halls. says Hans-Peter Jansen, who runs four cinemas in Hamburg. "It is an interim solution. You can't watch films properly in the car, the sound is bad and you can't see anything when it rains." Although economically, the operators of art house cinemas can write off the year 2020, they are optimistic about the future. After all, happy-ends usually prevail in the cinema.

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food / travel

Pasta v. Fascists: How Italy's Staple Dish Became A Symbol Of Resistance

Pasta may not be considered controversial today, but it played an important role during Italy's fascist years, particularly in one family's celebration of community and liberation.

Photo of the Cervi family.

Photo of the Cervi family, whose seven children were shot by the Fascists on December 28, 1943, at the Reggio Emilia shooting range.

@comunisti_alla_ribalta via Instagram
Jacopo Fontaneto

ROME — Eighty years ago — on July 25, 1943 — the vote of no confidence by the Grand Council of Fascism, leading to Benito Mussolini's arrest, set off widespread celebrations. In Campegine, a small village in the Emilian province, the Cervi family celebrated in their own way: they brought 380 kilograms of pasta in milk cans to the town square and offered it to all the inhabitants of the village.

The pasta was strictly plain: macaroni dressed with butter and cheese, seen as more of a "festive dish" in that period of deprivation. As soon as the Cervi brothers learned about the arrest of Mussolini, they procured flour, borrowed butter and cheese from the dairy, and prepared kilos and kilos of pasta. They then loaded it onto a cart to distribute it to their fellow villagers. Pastasciutta (dry pasta) specifically regards dishes with noodles that are plated "dry", not in broth. That would disqualify soup, risotto, ravioli...

Even though pastasciutta is the most stereotypical type of pasta today, it had a complicated relationship with the government during Italy's fascist years.

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