Strict safety measures are in place this year at the festival, from mask wearing to social distancing within theatres, to the decision to ban fans from the red carpet.
At Wednesday’s first morning screening for the press, “Lacci” by Italian director Daniele Luchetti, the theatre was just half full with journalists, whose temperatures were taken before being allowed inside.
Earlier on Tuesday, workers finished last-minute projects, as dozens of red safety signs were installed throughout the venue, underscoring the peculiarity of this year’s event.
“Anti-Covid-19 rules of conduct,” read the bright, vertical signs. “Wear a face mask. Keep a safe distance. Wash your hands.”
Festival Director Alberto Barbera, tanned and mask-free, acknowledged some jitters on the eve of the opening.
“I’m excited and I’m a little bit anxious,” Barbera, neatly turned out in a pressed blue suit despite the heat, told AFP on Tuesday.
In May, Barbera made the high-stakes decision to go ahead with “La Mostra” — now in its 77th year — despite film festivals around the world opting to cancel, including Venice’s French rival, the Cannes Film Festival.
“We feel a responsibility to be the first. We knew Venice will be sort of a test for everyone,” he said.