Venice reclaims spotlight as 1st COVID-era film fest opens

ROME (AP) — Venice, one of the first Italian cities hit by the coronavirus pandemic, is reclaiming its place as a top cultural destination with the opening of the Venice Film Festival. It’s the first major in-person cinema showcase of the COVID-19 era after Cannes canceled and other festivals went mostly online. But the 77th edition of the world’s oldest film festival will look nothing like its predecessors. The public will be barred from the red carpet, Hollywood stars and films will be largely absent and face masks will be required indoors and out.  La Biennale chief Robert Cicutto says the festival is a sign of rebirth for Venice and the film industry and will serve as a laboratory for future cultural events.