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Locals shocked as Nazi banner unfurled in Nice

Residents in the southern French city of Nice were left gobsmacked after they witnessed men unfurling a Nazi banner over a public building. Thankfully it turned out there was nothing to panic about.

Locals shocked as Nazi banner unfurled in Nice
The banner was draped from the Palais de la Prefecture in the Old Town. Photo: AFP

In hindsight it might have been a good idea for authorities in Nice to alert the public that a film about the Nazis was being made in town.

On Monday passersby were left speechless when an enormous Nazi banner was draped over the Palais de la Prefecture, a government building in Nice's Old Town.

A witness said that people were unsure if it was intended as a joke or to deliberately provoke the bystanders.
 
 
“As soon as two men appeared on the roof to unfurl the banner, a crowd started to shout,” the bystander told the Nice-Matin newspaper.
 
“Obviously it caused some strong feelings.”

Another witness, Andrew Gentry, told the BBC that the scene was surreal.

“People started screaming… they were really agitated,” he said.

“There was nothing around to explain what was going on. The scene was just surreal.”
 
Others saw the humorous side.
 
Initially surprised when they saw the large flag from afar, German tourist Mathias and his son Tobias later sent pictures of it to their friends back home joking: “We are back!”
 
 
Later in the day, local authorities were forced to issue a statement to reassure locals that the banner was nothing more than a prop for a film being made in the area, which is based on World War Two and directed by Canadian Christian Dugay.
 
And on Tuesday a large yellow signboard read “film set” and “historical reconstruction” to dispel any further confusion.

  
 

The film, entitled “Le sac de billes” (A Bag of Marbles), is based on the memoirs of Joseph Joffo who fled Nazi-occupied Paris as a child.

The Palais de la Prefecture in Nice was being used as a replacement for the nearby Hotel Excelsior, which was actually used as a spot to round up Jewish people before taking them to the death camps during the war. 

 

 

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RELIGION

French electrician sues Netflix for labelling him a radical Islamist

A French man of North African origin has accused Netflix of racial discrimination for labelling him a radical Islamist in an action movie for which he was filmed without his knowledge, his lawyer said on Monday.

French electrician sues Netflix for labelling him a radical Islamist
The Netflix movie Sentinelle was set and filmed in Nice. Photo: Valery Hache/AFP

Sentinelle, set in the southern city of Nice, tells the story of an elite French soldier returning from service in Syria who embarks on a mission to find the man who raped her sister.

One scene shows the protagonist, Klara, looking through the sights of her rifle at two young friends saying goodbye to each other.

The scene was shot on the Promenade des Anglais, the seaside walk where a Tunisian radical mowed down 86 people with a truck on July 14th, 2016.

The French subtitles Netflix provided to describe the scene for the hard of hearing refer to two young “barbus” – a derogatory term for ultraconservative Muslim men that means “the bearded ones”.

One of the men, a 21-year-old electrician from Nice, filed a criminal complaint against Netflix over the description, accusing the company of “provoking discrimination and racial hatred,” his lawyer Jean-Pascal Padovani said.

“The director took the liberty of drawing a line between the North African features of the people he filmed… and religious fundamentalists,” Padovani said.

That the shot was filmed at the scene of one of the worst terror attacks in French history was even more suggestive, he added.

“It’s unacceptable as it suggests that anyone of North African origin is a potential terrorist,” Padovani said.

A spokesperson for Netflix, which was targeted by the complaint as the film’s broadcaster, declined to comment on the matter when contacted by AFP.

It has, however, removed the term “barbus” from the audio description.

Padovani said that his client had received over 80 messages from acquaintances who recognised him in the film, which was shot in 2019 and began streaming on Netflix in March.

Some expressed shock at seeing him depicted as a terrorist, he said.

The complainant is also considering suing Netflix for using his image for commercial purposes without his permission, Padovani said.

Sentinelle was directed by French film-maker Julien Leclercq.

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