Speed Reads

Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi?

French presidential candidate holds 7 rallies at once using hologram-like technology

French presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon might look like a so-called "aging leftist," but don't let appearances fool you: He actually might be one of the most tech-savvy politicians in the world. Described politely by The Week's Ryan Cooper as "a bit of an odd duck who has campaigned with holograms and video games," Mélenchon, 65, used technology Tuesday evening to appear at seven rallies — all at the same time.

While physically in the city of Dijon, Mélenchon also appeared to the audience in three dimensions in six other cities using holographic technology, Le Parisien reports. Technically, the technology isn't a true "hologram," so much as it is an optical illusion (more on that here).

The stunt doesn't come cheap: The first rally cost between 50,000 and 100,000 euros. But "it's successful, because it allows [Mélenchon] to say, 'Regardless of my age, I'm showing you that I'm comfortable with new technologies and methods,'" French political analyst Jean-Daniel Levy told AFP.

The first round of the French presidential election will be held on April 23; if no one gets the majority in the first vote, it will be followed by a May 7 runoff. Recent polls show Mélenchon within a couple points of centrist Emmanuel Macron, center-right François Fillon, and far-right Marine Le Pen. Learn more about Mélenchon and the French election at The Week.