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Watch: Cannes Mounts Terrorism Training on the Palais’s Red Carpet

Adding an anxious frisson to the upcoming Cannes Film Festival, The Hollywood Reporter reports on the city of Cannes’ terror training exercises in advance of this year’s event.

From the Hollywood Reporter:

With the world’s biggest film festival only a few weeks away, Cannes made a very public show of force. Last Thursday, the city on the Cote d’Azur staged a dramatic, some would say chilling, test run of what might happen if terrorists target the stars, film industry execs and thousands of fans that descend on the Croisette every year.

A video of the exercise, which featured masked gunmen with machine guns storming the famed red-carpeted steps of the Cannes Palais as shots rang out, played on repeat on French television and circulated widely on the Internet.

The purpose, according to Palais president Claire-Anne Reix, was to show fest attendees “that we are training, that we are preparing, that we are ready. It’s not frightening. What should be frightening is all the videos you see on the Internet, not the coverage of an exercise.”

In his 2000 novel SuperCannes, J.G. Ballard imagined a near-future South of France where the film festival was the locus for various psychopathologies and psychic upheavals. An excerpt:

The film festival measured a mile in length, from the Martinez to the Vieux Port, where sales executives tucked into their platters of fruits de mer, but was only fifty yards deep. For a fortnight the Croisette and its grand hotels willingly became a facade, the largest stage set in the world. Without realizing it, the crowds under the palm trees were extras recruited to play their traditional roles. As they cheered and hooted, they were far more confident than the film actors on display, who seemed ill at ease when they stepped from their limos, like celebrity criminals ferried to a mass trial by jury at the Palais, a full-scale cultural Nuremberg furnished with film clips of the atrocities they had helped to commit.

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