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Feminist protesters storm Cannes premiere of ‘Saint Spider’ with smoke devices

On Sunday, a group of feminist protesters staged a dramatic scene at the Cannes Film Festival, releasing clouds of smoke from mobile devices and displaying a long banner for the world’s press.

At the premiere of “Saint Spider,” a female-centric thriller directed by Ali Abbasi, about 12 women in formal attire gathered on the famous steps of the Palais with raised fists, filling the space with thick black smoke and holding a scroll with a list of 129 women’s names. According to the group, the list includes “129 femicides in France since the last Cannes Film Festival.” Feminicide is the intentional killing of women just because they are women.

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Security seemed unfazed by the event, allowing filming and photography of protesters. A person close to the production said the protest was not a coordinated promotional stunt for the film, about a journalist who goes to the holy Iranian city of Mashhad to investigate the case of a serial killer murdering prostitutes.

According to the Challenges website, the protest was linked to the screening of the documentary “Riposta” on Sunday in Cannes, about feminist activists.

The protest took place before the cast and creators of “The Saint Spider” arrived, said the source, who added that the caravan of vehicles carrying the talent was briefly stopped on the Boulevard de la Croisette before reaching the top of the red carpet.

The film is based on the grim true story of serial killer Saeed Hanaei, who, according to the film’s synopsis, believed he was on a holy mission to cleanse the streets of sin. Abbasi wrote the script along with Afshin Kamran Bahrami. Starring Zar Amir Ebrahimi and Mehdi Bajestani.

This is the second feminist protest to take place at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival. On Friday, an activist attending the world premiere of George Miller’s “3000 Years of Longing” organized a protest against alleged sexual violence against women in Ukraine by Russian forces. While the guest attended the event in accordance with the premiere dress code, she took off her dress, revealing her belly with the words “Stop raping us” placed next to the colors of the Ukrainian flag.

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