The Shanghai International Film Festival will take place July 25 to Aug. 2, after Chinese authorities announced Thursday that cinemas will reopen at long last beginning from next Monday in low-risk regions.
The Shanghai International TV Festival has also set its dates. It is scheduled to run from August 3 to 7.
Cinemas in China have been shut for longer than anywhere else in the world. They abruptly shut on Jan. 23 to stop the spread of the coronavirus outbreak and have remained closed ever since — with devastating consequences for exhibitors — even as all other types of businesses across the country resumed operations.
The Shanghai Int’l. Film Festival was originally scheduled to run from June 13-22, but announced in late May that it would be indefinitely postponed.
The revival of China’s theaters comes just in time for the prestigious Shanghai event to move forward with its plans for in-person screenings. The festival reportedly received the necessary official approvals late last month, but it has been cagey about officially announcing its dates, apparently out of concern that cinemas might not reopen in time.
Its timing means that it will now overlap with the well-regarded FIRST Film Festival in Xining, Qinghai Province, which is scheduled to take place from July 26 to August 3. That event was the first festival in the mainland China to announce plans to take place as an in-person affair, and had intended to go ahead with outdoor screenings even in the absence of indoor venues.
Earlier this month, the Shanghai festival accidentally posted its dates and parts of its schedule on its own website. At that time, it revealed a line-up that included tributes to French New Wave director Claude Chabrol and director Wu Yigong, a former president of the Shanghai Film Studio and Shanghai Film Bureau best known for his 1983 film “My Memories of Old Beijing,” who passed away last year.
The leaked line-up also encompassed a Japanese film week that included the 2019 mystery “The Promised Land” and a focus section on German that included the 2019 romantic drama “Relativity.”
Shanghai has weathered the coronavirus pandemic well for a city three times the size of New York, with more than 24 million residents, and was never put under full lockdown.
No new local cases were reported on Wednesday, according to government data. As of Thursday, the city has so far been home to a total of just 732 cases and seven deaths.