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The Cannes Film Festival opens with a message from Zelenskyy: Will the cinema be silent or will it speak?
The 75th Cannes Film Festival has excluded all Russian participants except the dissident director Kirill Serebrennikov.
To give fascination and still be political: this has always been the claim of the most important European film festival in Cannes.
In times of war in Europe, a special guest called on filmmakers and actors on the opening night of the 75th Cannes Film Festival to remember their past media contributions in turbulent times. The pre-recorded message from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy received a strong ovation.
"Will the cinema be silent or will it speak? If there is a dictator, if there is a struggle for freedom, again everything depends on our unity. Can the cinema stand outside this unity?" tha Zelenskyy.
The Ukrainian leader called on a new generation of filmmakers to confront dictators, while Charlie Chaplin mocked Adolf Hitler in "The Great Dictator" in 1940.
"We need a new Chaplin to prove today that cinema is not silent," he said.
This year, the Cannes Film Festival is not hosting any official Russian delegation. However, artistic director Thierry Fremaux had reserved the right to include Russian filmmakers in the program. Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov has been invited to a competition with his film "Tchaikovsky's Wife". He had not received any funding from the Russian state, Fremaux argued.