NICE (Reuters) – Caricatures of Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump will join Charlie Chaplin and Harvey Weinstein when the Nice Carnival lights up the Cote d’Azur this month.
The carnival, held in the Mediterranean city since 1873, runs from Feb. 16 until March 2 this year with the theme “King of Cinema”. It will honor the 100th anniversary of Victorine Studios, a mainstay of the film industry in the south of France.
Artists and sculptors have been toiling for weeks to build and decorate the giant figures that will adorn dozens of colorful floats and bring the city’s streets life during three weekends of parades.
“Politics is a little bit of cinema. So it’s good to mix them together,” said resident Fabienne Neuville, 65, with a laugh.
From Marvel comic book characters to an array of massive Charlie Chaplin faces, with emotions ranging from angry to ashamed to confused, few people escape ridicule.
“One imagines that’s how these characters are perceived, they create fear all around the world, and that’s sort of the point of carnival, and to bring that out through colors and costumes,” said float creator Cedric Pignataro.
Alongside Trump and Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un are cast as cackling or alarming-looking clowns.
Macron’s wife Brigitte, who at 65 is 24 years older than the president, is given a less-than-flattering makeover.
Weinstein is portrayed with a Hollywood actress. The movie mogul is due to go on trial in May on charges of sexually assaulting two women. He has pleaded not guilty.
More than 70 women have accused him of sexual misconduct. He has denied all accusations and said any contact was consensual.
Once just a city affair, the Nice Carnival now draws visitors from all over France and tourists from abroad. In the middle weekend of the festival there is also “Lou Queernaval”, dubbed as France’s first gay carnival.
Writing by Luke Baker; Editing by Alison Williams