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Drama at Cannes film festival

A jewellery heist, a gun scare - it all went down at the prestigious festival on Friday

Image Credit: AP
From left, actors Emma Watson, Claire Julien, director Sofia Coppola, actors Israel Broussard, Taissa Fariga and Katie Chang pose for photographers during a photo call for the film The Bling Ring at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2013.

Life imitated art at the Cannes Film Festival on Thursday, as a thief or thieves stole a reported $1 million (DH3.7 million) worth of Chopard jewellery from a hotel safe, just as The Bling Ring, Sofia Coppola’s dramatisation of a string of celebrity-home heists, was kicking off the festival’s Un Certain Regard section with a glamorous red-carpet premiere.

“I know, it’s crazy,” a serene and smiling Coppola said on Friday, while her marketing team outside read emails congratulating them on the brilliant tie-in. (The robbery was no stunt, however; at the time of writing, local police suspect it was an inside job.)

Swiss jewellers Chopard said, without giving a figure, that the value of the lost items was far lower. It also denied that the jewels were to be worn by actresses at the festival.

Later that day, a man was arrested after causing a scare at the Cannes Film Festival, where he attacked a TV studio with a gun loaded with blanks and a dummy grenade, police and witnesses said.

Oscar-winning actor Christoph Waltz and French actor Daniel Auteuil, who were being interviewed at the time, reportedly ran for cover.

There were no casualties in the incident and the TV channel, France’s Canal +, resumed broadcasts after a break of several minutes.

The suspected assailant fired twice in the air as he approached the temporary studio, set up on the Croisette seafront for special coverage of the film festival, they said.

“He said to a woman next to him ‘if I were you, I wouldn’t stick around here’,” said Michel Denisot, the programme’s presenter.

“The police intervened. He had a hand grenade. There were no bullets in the gun and the grenade was a fake,” he told viewers.

There was a brief moment of panic in the crowd around the seafront studio, but no-one was hurt.

Marcel Authier, in charge of public security in the local Alpes-Maritimes department, said that the arrested individual was a 42 year-old man.

“It’s someone mentally unstable who was immediately arrested,” Authier said.

Police sources said the man also carried a switchblade knife and had shouted: “I’m doing this in the name of God” during his arrest.

The Cannes Film Festival is ranked as the world’s most prestigious movie showcase. Security for the event is high, and was stepped up after the April 15 bomb attacks in Boston.