French and Riviera News Wednesday July 7th 2021


Cannes 2021 - The Cannes film festival has opened at the Palais des Festivals nearly two months later than originally planned owing to the coronavirus pandemic. The rescheduled Festival represents a huge step forward for the film industry after 18 months of closed cinemas and uncertainty because of the pandemic. Last night’s world premiere was the Sparks musical “Annette” starring Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard and directed by Leos Carax. The lineup for this year’s event is particularly strong after many film-makers held back their work when the Festival had to be cancelled in 2020.

Today’s Palme d’Or competition films are “Ha’barech” or “Ahed’s knee” by Nadav Lapid and “Tout s’est bien passe” or “Everything went fine” by Francois Ozon. Another film to watch out for is “The Story of my Wife” from Hungarian director Ildiko Enyedi. It’s based on the 1942 novel of the same name by Milan Fust and is a romantic drama starring Léa Seydoux. Although the film is a Hungarian production, most of the dialogue is in English. The Story of my Wife will be screened for the first time next Wednesday the 14th of July.

Covid 19 - With the delta variant of coronavirus spreading rapidly in France, more and more people are asking whether there’s any chance of fresh restrictions or partial lockdowns being imposed before the summer comes to an end. The French Health Minister Olivier Veran has said that he’s concerned that a 4th wave of the pandemic may start “before the end of July” but some experts including scientists from the Pasteur Institute in Paris don’t expect cases to start increasing rapidly again until the autumn.

Previously the government used a measurement of 400 cases per 100,000 inhabitants as the level where restrictions or local lockdowns would need to be implemented. On the second of July, the national infection rate was recorded at just 23. There have been 3,033 new infections involving the delta variant over the past 24 hours and bed occupancy in intensive care units across France is at 21 percent of capacity.

New variants - The World Health Organisation has raised concerns about two new variants of coronavirus. The Epsilon variant which follows on from the Delta name in the Greek alphabet was first detected In California and the Lambda variant has been picked up in Peru. The WHO says that both variants need to be watched as they are more transmissible and could put up greater resistance to some vaccines. No cases of either of the variants have been picked up yet in France but the Lambda variant has been detected in 30 countries around the world including the U.K. and Germany.

Custody death - Reports from central France say that a man has hanged himself while in police custody. Authorities say that they arrested a man for drink driving in Poitiers late on Monday night and that he was discovered hanging from cell bars where he’d been placed to sober up in the early hours of Tuesday. It’s understood that he’d used his shoe laces to make a noose. An enquiry is underway but local police say that the man had not shown any signs of agitation or depression when he was arrested and had gone through the usual process of being fingerprinted and providing a blood sample.

‘Copter crisis - The town hall at Ramatuelle in the Var says that it’s “disappointed” to have lost a legal case to limit the number of private helicopters flying over the area. The prefecture of the Var set the limit to 50 rerun flights a day this year, up from the 40 permitted last year. Some locals say that the real number is more like 90 a day and residents are becoming increasingly angry about the noise. The town hall says that residents in the picturesque village which includes the famous Pampelonne beach have the right to live in “a balanced environment with respect for their health”. For well heeled clients with property or a yacht in the Gulf of St Tropez, a helicopter is the obvious choice to avoid the daily, worsening traffic jams and a flight from Nice Airport takes only around 15 minutes.

Robo-Pizza - A new pizza joint has opened in Paris, staffed entirely by robots. In a shape of what could be to come, the restaurant kitchen which is enclosed in glass is staffed by a team of robots that build, bake and then box up your pizza. Customers order at a self service terminal and can then watch as the robo-chefs put the pizza together. The kitchen can make up to 80 pizzas an hour and it takes just a few minutes for one pizza to be built, cooked and then boxed up for delivery.  


US business lobbying groups are reported to be drawing up battle plans to fight President Biden’s corporate tax hikes. Although US business mostly cheered Mr Biden’s 1.2 trillion dollar bipartisan infrastruct