Cannes Theater Evacuated Amid Security Scare

LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images

A press screening of 'Redoubtable' at the Debussy cinema was affected.

A Cannes cinema in the Palais was evacuated Saturday evening amid a security scare.

The city's Debussy cinema was cleared around 7:15 p.m. before the press screening of Redoubtable, the latest film from Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist). The comedy-romance stars Louis Garrel, Stacy Martin, Berenice Bejo and Gregory Gadebois.

Security officials told the press that it was due to a suspicious bag in the theater. A security guard and a cop told the Hollywood Reporter that it was a bag left at the entrance to the Palais. The security staff called a bomb expert to check it out, and it turned out to be no threat.

Before the situation was cleared up, staff from inside the theater rushed out and told the press to exit the waiting line. Eyewitnesses said there was a massive police and security presence, and people started leaving the cinema. The area was soon cleared, and press members were allowed back in.

The film was scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. but the press was still waiting outside at 7:40 p.m. It was about that time that staff came out telling everyone to “evacuate, evacuate.” The scare caused an estimated 35- to 45-minute delay.

A festival spokeswoman and personnel at the theater told THR that security evacuated festival staff and established a perimeter around the venue, while the Palais itself was not affected. They confirmed that security found there was no threat.

"Following reports of a suspicious object in the Debussy Auditorium, the safety protocol was initiated and the theater foyer was evacuated as a precautionary measure," Cannes spokesperson Christine Aime said in a statement. "The verification procedure cleared up the matter and everything is back in order."

Security has been a big focus at this year's 70th anniversary edition of the festival.

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