A 7:30 p.m. press screening was held up and festival-goers were prevented from going into the theater or were asked to leave the Palais, Cannes’ main movie-going hub. French guards weren’t initially forthcoming about the reasons for the evacuation, but there are reports that it took place because a bag was left in the Debussy theater.
The French drama is directed by Oscar-winner Michel Hazanavicius and examines Jean-Luc Godard’s marriage.
Cannes security personnel ordered festival attendees to evacuate the Palais minutes before the press screening was scheduled to begin. Guards turned away press and industry who were mounting the steps to the Debussy theater. Indoors, badge-holders were ushered down to the basement level, where they waited in perplexed confusion for several minutes, before guards ordered everyone to exit the building.
Squads of police were seen going inside the building with dogs. After about 15 minutes, security asked people to come up to the gate, and began letting people back inside.
A spokeswoman for Cannes did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Security has been tight at this year’s festival due to terrorist concerns. There have been attacks in Paris and nearby Nice that have heightened alarms. The beefed-up security plan includes installing an anti-drone system and upgrading firearms for police.
Peter Debruge and Owen Gleiberman contributed to this report.