Rude welcome for 'Bastardos' star

Ruben Sosa detained by border police

CANNES -- Mexican actor Ruben Sosa, who appears in the illegal immigrant drama "Los Bastardos" directed by Amat Escalante, had a hard time crossing France's border to attend yesterday's Certain Regard screening.

Sosa was stopped by customs at Nice airport Monday and subjected to multiple searches before being tailed to Cannes by police who did not believe he was in a movie here, according to those involved in the film.

"He was dragged off like a dog, they rummaged through his luggage three times, then he was stripped to his underpants in front of everyone," said Francois Guerrar, the film's French publicist. "They didn't believe he was an actor in a film, and Sosa didn't understand what was going on."

Sosa, who was traveling alone from Mexico, was eventually allowed to get into the Mercedes sent to meet him by sales company Le Pacte. The driver said that a police car then followed them all the way to Cannes to confirm the actor's story.

Airport police were unable to confirm the incident, and customs did not answer calls Tuesday.

In "Los Bastardos," Sosa plays Fausto, a young Mexican mmirant in an unspecified U.S. city who embarks on a contract hit that ends violently.

"Thank you for the police escort," the compere said at the film's presentation here Tuesday.

"The irony is that the movie is about illegal immigrants in America, and France is supposed to be the country of human rights and all that," an insider at Le Pacte said. The apparently heavy-handed attitude of customs and police towards the Mexican actor will no doubt stoke the feeling some have voiced that this edition of the festival is the most tightly policed in years.

Said Festival de Cannes general delegate Thierry Fremaux: "I can't really comment, I've only just heard about it."