Cannes Film Festival Inadvertently Frightened Attendees With A Terrorism Simulation Video


In a couple short weeks, I head to France for Uproxx’s inaugural coverage of the Cannes Film Festival, a red-letter event on the annual filmgoing calendar. The most prestigious film festival on the planet, Cannes brings dozens of high-wattage names in the entertainment industry to the French Riviera for two weeks of sun, celebrity, and movies. It’s a huge undertaking featuring major stars and other power players on full display for the public, and while that once promised dazzling glimpses of glitz and glamour for attendees, it sadly now marks the proceedings as a possible terrorist target.

In light of last November’s terrorist attacks in Paris, the authorities at Cannes have become understandably cautious about possible activity around the festival. In what has since proven to be a colossally misguided gesture, the Cannes security team conducted a simulation to test their preparedness last Thursday, sending heavily armed masked men into the main theatre to secure hostages and threaten attendees. The Cannes authorities also put together a video compilation of the exercise to demonstrate how prepared they’d be in the event that violence was to break out at the festival, but this gesture intended to reassure had a diametrically opposite effect.

As the clip circulated online and played on French television, panic seized those planning to take in a film at the festival. According to an item from The Hollywood Reporter, it turns out that many attendees hadn’t even considered this possibility, and now feel more uneasy in the wake of this “chilling” video. The article quotes one man as deciding to forego the red carpet this year, and another wonders whether such a public display of force might be more of a PR stunt than a sincere assurance of safety. Regardless of what the video below does or does not prove, the optics of the situation unsettle me a bit as well. Even though the officers handled the situation perfectly, nobody wants to be going into the festival with that image in their head.