In Cannes, a Bittersweet Mini-Festival Salutes the Past and Sets Out a Hopeful New Vision

As the lights dimmed in the Grand Theatre Lumiere in Cannes on Tuesday evening, and the opening notes to Camille Saint-Saëns’ “The Carnival of Animals” echoed over the loudspeakers, one could almost imagine themselves back in the normal swing of things.In some respects, the opening night of the three-day ‘Special Cannes’ program felt very much like a return to halcyon days.

Announced in late September, the mini-festival is intended to honor the Cannes 2020 selection with a showcase of four films that received the prestigious label, as well as the full Cinefondation lineup and a short film competition.At Tuesday’s opening screening of Emmanuel Courcol’s crowd-pleasing comedy drama “The Big Hit,” the security measures were more elaborate than ever; the state-of-the-art auditorium was at full capacity; and the screening was prefaced by a typically effusive introduction from Cannes delegate general Thierry Fremaux, among others.Only, the 1,000 attendees weren

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