The 75th Cannes Film Festival kicked off with a virtual address from Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and a veiled attack on his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
Zelenskyy urged future filmmakers to celebrate the satire on fascism and not remain silent and praised Charlie Chaplin’s satire on Adolf Hitler at the Cannes Film Festival’s opening ceremony.
“The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people,” said Zelenskyy, quoting Chaplin’s final speech in 1940’s “The Great Dictator.”
His plea to the film industry was succinct: “Cinema cannot be silent.” “We need a new Chaplin who will demonstrate that the cinema of our time is not silent,” the Ukrainian President said.
In addition, he urged that cinema should always be “on the side of freedom”.
His comments came in a live satellite video address to the audience of Michel Hazanavicius’ zombie comedy “Final Cut,” which had gathered for its premiere.
In his trademark olive green shirt, Ukrainian President Poroshenko strode the stage. Zelenskyy’s lengthy discussion of the relationship between cinema and reality sparked a thunderous standing ovation in the auditorium.
According to ABC News, he compared the current state of Ukraine to films like “Apocalypse Now” by Francis Ford Coppola and “The Great Dictator” by Charlie Chaplin.
The Natural History of Destruction, a documentary by well-known Ukrainian filmmaker Sergei Loznitsa, will be shown as part of the festival. Hanna Bilobrova, the fiancée of Lithuanian filmmaker Mantas Kvedaravicius, will screen footage he shot before his death in April in Mariupol.
According to a media portal, even Hazanavicius’ latest film, “Final Cut,” was renamed from its original title, “Z,” after Ukrainian protesters pointed out that the letter Z to some symbolises support for Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Until May 28, the 75th Cannes Film Festival will be in full swing.