The President of Ukraine appeared via video conference at the opening of the major French cinema event. In front of a star audience, the head of state took up the image of Charlie Chaplin to denounce “the dictator” Vladimir Putin.
The secret had been carefully guarded. Volodymyr Zelenskyy appeared on the big screen at the opening ceremony of the 75th Cannes Film Festival on Tuesday night in his now traditional khaki outfit from Kyiv. In front of the elite of world cinema, the President of Ukraine again called for resistance to the Russian invasion of his country, this time with reference to the film the dictator. “We need a new Chaplin who proves that cinema is not silent.”
“One would have thought everyone understood that you can conquer people through beauty, by bringing them together in front of screens, and not through ugliness, by bringing them together in air shelters. One would have thought that everyone would have understood that the horrors of the large-scale war that can engulf the whole of Europe will have no consequences. But then, as now, there is a dictator. Again there is a war for freedom.” regretted Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Before adding: “We will keep fighting, we have no other choice. […] I am convinced that the “dictator” will lose”.
At the beginning of the opening ceremony, moderated by actress Virginie Efira, the question of commitment to cinema was asked: “Can cinema change the world? Not sure. But it can disturb our perception. And as a result, the world is truly changed […] Filmmakers of Freedom Celebrate Cannes Film Festival”.
Volodymyr Zelensky’s performance caused a surprise and standing ovations from the audience in the hall. For almost ten minutes, the Ukrainian President denounced Russia’s war in Ukraine and called on the film world not to remain silent. At the beginning of April he had already intervened at the 64th edition of the Grammys, the equivalent of the Oscars for American music, and asked for support from his country. The Cannes Film Festival, its 75th edition, had promised that Ukraine would be there “in everyone’s mind”, by announcing his selection in April, which includes several selected films.
Russian dissenting voices
Two generations of Ukrainian filmmakers will be present, among them regularly Sergei Loznitsa The Natural History of Destructionabout the destruction of German cities by the Allies in World War II, but also for the young Maksim Nakonechnyi Bachennya Metelyka (Butterfly Visions) (A Certain Look). The festival added the presentation at the last minute Mariupoli 2the latest film by Lithuanian director Mantas Kvedaravičius, who was killed in Ukraine in early April.
On the other hand, the World Cinema Meeting refuses to be welcome “Russian officials, government bodies or journalists representing the official line” Russian, but always said he was ready to welcome dissenting voices, starting with Kirill Serebrennikov. The enfant terrible of the Russian scene opens the competition on Wednesday with his new film Tchaikovsky’s wifein the race for the Palme d’Or.
Update: 8:45 p.m., with more context.