UPDATED with photo and Thierry Frémaux comments: The Cannes Film Festival observed a minute of silence at 3 PM local time today in solidarity with the city of Manchester where at least 22 people, including some children, were killed in a suicide bombing attack on Monday night. A fireworks display to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the festival has also been canceled. Cannes chief Thierry Frémaux announced the plans ahead of the morning screening of 24 Frames, the final film of late Iranian helmer Abbas Kiarostami.
“I want to show our solidarity with the city of Manchester. We must show that we will not accept this and that life goes on. At 3 PM, we will be at the top of the (Palais) steps to observe a minute of silence,” AFP quoted Frémaux as saying.
A photo from the observance, with members of the jury, Frémaux, fest President Pierre Lescure, Cannes Mayor David Lisnard and others, is above.
To the crowd, Frémaux said, “We are a festival of peace and sharing. The people who were at the concert last night were doing nothing different from what we’re doing here: being together, enjoying freedom, loving and sharing passions. In honor of and with a thought for the victims… and all of our British friends, and to think once again (of those) in France, in Belgium, in Germany, in the United States or in England and everywhere else — in Pakistan and Syria — to all who are victims of this absurdity, this warfare, we observe a minute of silence.”
The festival earlier released the following statement:
“The Festival de Cannes would like to express its horror, anger and immense sadness following the attack on the public and the city of Manchester last night.
This is yet another attack on culture, youth and joyfulness, on our freedom, generosity and tolerance, all things that the Festival and those who make it possible – the artists, professionals and spectators – hold dear.
The Festival de Cannes invites all festival-goers to show their solidarity with the victims, their families and the British people by observing a minute’s silence this Tuesday 23 May at 3pm.”
An evening event in honor of the 70th anniversary, with a lot of talent expected to attend, is being maintained.
A photo call and reception for Pixar’s Cars 3 has also been canceled. A spokesperson said, “In the wake of last night’s tragic attack, and out of respect for the casualties and all of those impacted, we are not moving forward with today’s promotional activities.”
Given the high state of alert here in France after a series of deadly terrorist attacks, Cannes itself has been under tight security. But on Saturday, the Debussy Theater was evacuated ahead of the press screening of Michel Hazanavicius’ Redoubtable due to concerns over an object in the auditorium. Ultimately, the matter was safely resolved and press was admitted to the building.
The festival has increased security this year, installing giant flower pots and chains along the Croisette — particularly in response to the Bastille Day massacre in Nice last July which saw a truck mow down dozens who were leaving a fireworks display. Various armed security forces are a familiar sight; surveillance of the sea and air is enhanced; and helicopters are roundly buzzing over the bay.
Lisnard today also released the following statement:
“An abject terrorist act has struck again last night in Manchester. My heartfelt thoughts go out to the victims’ families, deceased or injured. I extend Cannes and all of the residents of Cannes’ solidarity to all our bereaved British friends. We do give our complete support, both compassionate and combative, to all British nationals, either living all year long in Cannes or visiting during the Film Festival. And everyone can be certain that our involvement is unprecedented and limitless against the terrorist risk and the evil religious fundamentalism.
The Islamic terrorist threat is at the highest and we stay in permanent tension to prevent it and protect everyone from this menace, residents or festival participants. Our battle is first to protect everyone. But it is as well to defend our values. And we should not surrender on anything that makes who we are. With this spirit, the Cannes Festival carries for the past 70 years the universal message of culture, in a spirit of openness, of sharing, and of emancipating. This is the message that we have to carry without weakness, without deference, without fear. The message of all men living up to a momentum of life This is the message of democrats and of the civilization. Our duty is to strongly claim it against the obscurantism, also religiously fundamentalist and deadly.”