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Cannes director open to letting green activists onto red carpet

CANNES — Cannes Film Festival director Thierry Fremaux said on Monday he was open to letting climate demonstrators onto the red carpet, as the showbiz extravaganza prepared to launch amid bursts of activism on both sides of the Atlantic. Mr. Fremaux also said artists would be welcome to discuss issues arising from the Hollywood writers’ strike — and that he had had “positive dialogue” with France’s CGT union, which had threatened to cut power to the event during pension protests.

As in past years, the city of Cannes has banned demonstrations near the festival center in a bid to keep the focus on the films, which this year include La Chimera from Alice Rohrwacher and Fallen Leaves by Aki Kaurismaki.

But the confluence of at least three major protest movements has put unusual pressure on the organizers.

“We are in the process of speaking with Cyril Dion, the French filmmaker and climate activist, because a big climate day is organized for next Monday,” Mr. Fremaux told a news conference.

“It’s not impossible that we will welcome them at the top of the steps to express themselves,” he added.

It was too early to tell what effect the writer’s strike would have on the festival, he said, but the right to strike had to be respected.

“We will see if the actors and the writers who will sit at this table for their films will want to talk about this issue — of course they will be welcome to do so,” he said.

Talks with the CGT union — a founder member of the festival — had been positive and so far no concrete plans to cut power had been announced, he said.

The union has announced plans to have protests outside the restricted areas.

The festival “is a place that is protected for the fortnight but is at the same time a target for certain people to make demands because it projects them more strongly,” Mr. Fremaux said.

The Writers Guild of America began a work stoppage on May 2 after failing to reach a new labor agreement with higher pay from Hollywood studios such as Netflix and Walt Disney.

France has been roiled by mass protests over government moves to raise the retirement age. — Reuters

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