cannes fdc

Source: FDC

Cannes Film Festival

As the world’s biggest spotlight gets set to shine on global cinema at the Cannes Film Festival, France’s energy workers union has threatened to pull the plug on power supply to the event amidst ongoing national protests against pension reforms.

The Federation National des Mines et de l’Energie (FNME) announced that it plans to target major events including Cannes, the Monaco Grand Prix and the Roland Garros tennis open over the coming weeks in what it calls “100 Days of actions and anger” a direct response to President Emmanuel Macron’s April speech calling for “100 days” of measures meant to ease the tensions that have resulted as he pushed through a law raising the country’s retirement age.

“Macron promised 100 days to appease, we promise him 100 days of action and anger! This is not the time for resignation”, the union wrote in their public statement.

The union added a popular rhyming French expression “En Mai, fait ce qu’il te plait” which means “In May, do what you like!” They said that “the Cannes Film Festival, the Monaco Grand Prix, the Roland Garros tennis tournament, the Avignon Festival, could all find themselves plunged into darkness. We’re not giving up.”

The anger comes from Macron’s move to raise the official retirement age in France to 64 by 2030 in addition to other pension reforms that he and his government pushed through without a parliamentary vote. Major protests and transport and other union strikes have continued since the mid-April move and will likely continue through the festival’s May 16-27 dates.

While Cannes has not been hit hard by violent protests like other major French cities, with the eyes of the world watching, the festival has traditionally been a popular venue for protesting of all kinds.

In May 1968, a group of filmmakers led by Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut interrupted and then cancelled the 21st edition in support of the numerous demonstrations that were shaking up the country.

While April’s Canneseries and parallel MIPTV emerged unscathed by any unrest, the ongoing anger did recently shake up the Series Mania festival in Lille in March where riot officers were dispatched to evacuate stars including Marcia Cross from the event’s purple carpet.

When contacted by Screen, the Festival declined to comment on the evolving situation. The Palais des Festivals and Mayor’s office have also not commented on whether technically such a power shut down would be possible or if they have a back-up plan were the unions to turn off the lights in the middle of the festival.

However, Anna Creti, an economist specializing in energy issues, told French newspaper Le Point that the union would “technically have the means” to plunge the Croisette into the dark this May.