Cops, Robbers & Imposters: Cannes' 5 Strangest Moments

Cannes Generic Art Theater - H 2013
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Cannes Generic Art Theater - H 2013

Jewelry heists, a shooting and a fake Psy made the 66th annual event one to remember.

Every year there’s always a bit of drama at the Cannes Film Festival, whether it’s Lars von Trier claiming to be a Nazi, an audience booing a certain film or the inevitable wardrobe malfunctions that plague the red carpet.

But the 2013 festival seemed especially jam-packed with odd happenings, from a series of robberies, including a dramatic Chopard jewelry heist to a man impersonating a celebrity to gain access to the fest’s most exclusive events. Indeed, some of these strange-but-true tales made the biggest movie festival in the world seem like it was written for a screenplay rather than real life.

VIDEOS: The Hollywood Reporter Live from Cannes

Here, The Hollywood Reporter reviews the weirdest moments of the 66th annual fest.

Crime Spree Hits the Fest
On Friday, May 17, Chopard jewels worth more than $1 million were snatched out of a hotel room. The jewelry was stolen -- coincidentally the day after the premiere of The Bling Ring -- from the safe in the Suite Novotel Cannes Centre room of a Chopard employee, an American, overnight. The police told THR that they were investigating the possibility of the heist being an inside job. The high-profile break in was just the first in a series of burglaries that took place during the festival. Just two days later, China Film Group vp Zhang Qiang had all his possessions stolen from his rented apartment at Pierre & Vacances Cannes Beach Residence. Zhang said the staff brushed off his pleas for assistance and said they could change the locks, but he would have to contact the police himself. “Security in France is so bad, and the [people] are so arrogant,” he wrote on a blog. Days later, a diamond necklace worth $2.6 million (2 million euros) vanished from a star-studded party, according to Swiss luxury jeweler De Grisogono. Additionally, THR reported that CIT Group managing director Kevin Khanna and Silver Pictures co-president Steve Richards returned to their five-bedroom villa behind the Majestic Hotel on Monday to find all their valuables missing. Gersh agent Jay Cohen and Waterstone Entertainment’s Stephen Bowen and Jeff Kalligheri were also accosted as they left the Palm Beach casino early Sunday morning at around 3 a.m. Three men started to push and grab at them, attempting to lift a wallet and a watch.

'He Has a Gun'
Just one day after the Chopard jewels went missing, a more dangerous event left many festgoers in a panic on the Croisette. While jury members Christoph Waltz and Daniel Auteuil were giving a live interview to Canal Plus on the beach, a man was seen brandishing a weapon and holding a device that looked like a grenade. He shot two blanks into the air, forcing the live studio audience to run for cover and the two jurors to be rushed offstage. Witnesses told THR that they heard police tell the crowd, “Run, he has a gun.” The man was taken into custody.

PHOTOS: Cannes: Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake Hit 'Inside Llewyn Davis' Premiere

While this famous corner of France was infiltrated with plenty of celebrities during the two-week festival, one celebrity did not actually attend, despite appearances to the contrary. Psy was seen all over town, attending a lunch at the beach and an exclusive party at the Carlton hotel later that night. But the man was an imposter, pretending to be the famed South Korean “Gangnam Style” singer. The real Psy was busy in the U.S. at the time, attending the Billboard Music Awards and taping an episode of Live! With Kelly and Michael. “Seems like there's another ME at cannes…say Hi to him,” the real Psy tweeted stateside.

To Infinity and Beyond
The amfAR charity event, one of the hottest tickets of the festival, always brings in the biggest stars and auctions off lavish prizes to raise money for a good cause. But this year, the event, hosted by Harvey Weinstein and Kenneth Cole, took it to another level -- outerspace, to be exact. A surprise item up for auction was a trip to space with Leonardo DiCaprio as your seatmate. The Great Gatsby actor attended the event, and one lucky bidder paid $1.5 million for the out-of-this-world date.

PHOTOS: Cannes: Jessica Chastain, Christoph Waltz Attend AmfAR Charity Event

Prostitution Comment Pisses Off France
During an interview with THR, director Francois Ozon spoke about his competition entry Young & Beautiful but also dropped a bomb about women that sparked controversy throughout France. After telling THR that “it’s a fantasy of many women to do prostitution,” Ozon caught the attention of French media and politicians, who denounced his statement. The French branch of the feminist group FEMEN tweeted in response that it would like to present Ozon with the “2013 Golden palm of assholes,” and the association Dare Feminism called his statements the “spew of the day” on its Facebook page. The French filmmaker eventually took to Twitter to defend himself, saying that his remarks were “awkward and misunderstood,” and: “Obviously I wasn’t talking about women in general, just the characters in my film.”

Read THR’s complete coverage of the Cannes film festival here.

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