Postcard from Cannes #2: the rising potential of immersive cinema

The Cannes Film Festival has rolled out the red carpet for immersive cinema and, for the first time, its own competition. With evolving techniques in virtual, augmented and mixed reality, storytelling is being taken to a whole new level.

The Cineum, with its steely grey Guggenheim-like shape emerging on the horizon, is just 20 minutes from downtown Cannes in the beachside suburb of La Bocca.

Opening in time for the Cannes Film Festival in 2021, the cinema complex is this year home to the festival’s immersive cinema program – with 14 international interactive projects, eight of them running in a brand new competition.

A goal for organisers is convincing spectators that the immersive experience is not simply for gamers.

For creators like Romanian Ioana Mischie, the technology has exponential potential, not just due to its technological innovation, but also for its human elements.

The viewer can step into someone else’s shoes and “be immersed” in the story, allowing for a deeper message.

Mischie's Human Violins is a virtual reality multi-player project: several people wear goggles, connect to the experience and interact with each other.

Art in dark times

Mischie sees the technology not only only as a way forward but a form of bridging past and present.

Human Violins explores the story of Alma – a 15-year-old sent to a death camp with her Jewish family during the Second World War. She took only her precious violin with her, which can be "played again" thanks to VR handsets.

"What we did was archive a story of the past in Virtual Reality (VR) and it actually has turned out to be a manifesto for the future," she says.

Read more on RFI English

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