Cannes Hit by Second High-Profile Burglary
China Film Group vice president Zhang Qiang canceled plans to preside over a press conference on Monday with Keanu Reeves for the actor’s directorial debut Man of Tai Chi after all of his possessions were stolen from his rented apartment at Pierre & Vacances Cannes Beach Residence.
The senior executive first exposed the burglary in a post on his official Weibo account (China’s version of Twitter) on May 16, saying that he got back to his apartment after dinner to find his door ajar and all of his luggage gone.
Zhang said the staff at the hotel brushed off his pleas for assistance and said they could change the locks but he would have to contact the police himself. “Security in France is so bad, and the [people] are so arrogant,” he wrote.
The episode seems to have spoiled Zhang’s Cannes experience. “This film festival is not worth mentioning!” he added.
As second in command at the China Film Group, the dominant State-owned film conglomerate, Zhang is likely the most influential Chinese industry player in town this week.
He was slated to appear with Reeves and producer Lemore Syvan at the Majestic Hotel Monday morning to promote Man of Tai Chi, which China Film Group co-produced with Wanda Media, Village Road Show Pictures, Universal Pictures and Company Films.
Zhang’s post was widely retweeted by Chinese film fans, with many weighing in to respond with their own travel horror stories and experiences with “impolite” French people in the past. He later tweeted a post about having to travel to Marseille to apply for a new travel documents, and wrote again on Saturday saying the municipal authorities, the Cannes film festival and the hotel had all reached out to him to apologize.
“We can see how China’s Weibo service now has influence outside the country,” he added. “I’d like to remind compatriots to take note of how to protect their own rights when travelling abroad for business and leisure.”
The Cannes Film Festival declined to comment on the incident.