Cannes organizers announced that this year’s festival will now take place July 6-17, about two months after its typical period, France 24 reported.
The world’s most prestigious film festival, which has run for nearly 75 years with few interruptions, is currently hoping the coronavirus recedes enough by summertime.
“As announced last autumn, the Festival de Cannes reserved the right to change its dates depending on how the global health situation developed,” the organizers said in a statement.
“Initially scheduled from May 11 to 22, 2021, the festival will now take place from July 6-17, 2021.”
The delay looked increasingly likely in recent weeks, with infection rates still high in France and talk of another lockdown looming.
It is another sign of uncertainty for an industry battered by a year of shuttered cinemas, delayed openings and canceled productions, with many unsure about when the glitz of the red carpet will return to its full pomp.
The festival was canceled entirely last year for the first time since the Second World War, with just a small online presentation from its official selection in October.
The postponement sets up a “potential confrontation” with its rival European festival in Venice, scheduled for September, said The Hollywood Reporter, “as the two events compete for the world premieres and red carpet star power”.
“The move, while expected, will have a domino effect across the festival circuit. The Venice Film Festival is scheduled to kick off on September 1. Cannes’ new dates mean there will be less than a month between Europe’s number one and number two festivals,” the industry magazine wrote.
The Venice festival managed to go ahead last year under strict health restrictions, taking advantage of a lull in infection rates over the summer.
But the continent’s other major cinema event – the Berlin Film Festival – announced last month that it was delaying its industry segment from February to an online version in March, and would postpone its public screenings to June.