Cannes: Celebrity Bubble Meets Surveillance State

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After the slew of brazen robberies at last year’s festival, local police have stepped up security with hundreds of extra police and a complex closed-circuit camera coverage. Beware Cannes attendees: Don't pull a Solange.

After the slew of brazen robberies at last year’s festival, culminating in a for-the-record-books $137 million smash-and-grab job at the Carlton hotel shortly after it ended, the French powers-that-be have brought in 350 heavily armed national police, 200 municipal cops and more than 400 private security guards to thwart another crime wave.

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But, perhaps fittingly at this celebration of what the camera can do, much of the key work will be handled by a robust network of private closed-circuit television coverage, which local law enforcement officials have taken to aggressively tapping for a nearly real-time view of the Croisette, from its exclusive terraces to its hidden vestibules. “The system has been expanded and developed” in the past year, says Michel Chevillon, president of the Cannes Hotelier Association.

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Adds Frederic Venou-Julian, a jeweler who heads Cannes’ Security Committee of shop owners: “At one point even Monaco asked for advice,” referring to the notoriously surveillance-crazed principality nearby. “The people behind the screens are able to track down everything.” Of course, those same people are also watching explicit — if not necessarily illicit — behavior of all sorts, as stars were starkly reminded May 12 when the world gaped at leaked Manhattan hotel elevator footage of Solange Knowles attacking Jay-Z after the Met Ball while her sister Beyonce passively looked on. Which is why this year’s Cannes A-listers might want to consider remaining on their best behavior even when they think they are behind closed doors.