Feminist group invades Cannes in protest of violence against women

It happened ahead of the premiere of 'Holy Spider', a film about a man who murders sex workers

A feminist group has invaded the Cannes Film Festival red carpet to highlight violence against women ahead of the premiere of a film about the murder of sex workers.

Agence France-Presse reports that Les Colleuses were behind the protest in which approximately 12 women set off black smoke grenades on the steps in front of the Palais des Festivals before the screening of Holy Spider yesterday (May 22).

They carried a banner with the first names of 129 women killed in France since the last time the film festival was held, as The Guardian reports further. The protest happened before actors and crew members for the Ali Abbasi-directed movie had arrived.


In the film a female journalist investigates the serial killing of sex workers in the Iranian holy city of Mashhad. The “Spider Killer” is behind the murders, motivated by exterminating what he claims are sinners from the city’s streets.

Saeed Hanaei, who killed at least 16 women, was the real-life “spider killer”. Some Islamist militants put him on a pedestal for the murders.

Les Colleuses’ protest followed a protester storming the red carpet on Friday (May 20) before the world premiere of Three Thousand Years Of Longing, demonstrating against sexual violence by Russian forces in Ukraine.

Cannes has seen demos in the past. Four years ago dozens of female actors protested against gender discrimination in the film industry.


The festival runs until Saturday (May 28). It’s the first film festival to return to full spectator capacity after the start of the COVID pandemic.

Meanwhile, David Cronenberg said that he expected audience walkouts during the premiere of his new film Crimes Of The Future at Cannes. Speaking to Deadline, Cronenberg said that he though “very strong scenes” would provoke walkouts among the festival audience.