Zelensky was the unexpected guest at Cannes and was asking for ‘a new Chaplin to prove that cinema is not silent’ – Observer

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky defended on Tuesday that it is necessary “a new Chaplin to prove that cinema is not silent” facing the war in Ukraine, in a message from kyiv broadcast at the opening of the 75th Cannes Film Festival.

“We will continue to fight, we have no other choice (…) I am convinced that ‘the dictator’ will lose”, declared Zelensky in front of the cream of world cinema, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin and the film “The Great Dictator” by Charlie Chaplin, which he mentioned to several occasions.

His appearance, via video, during the event’s opening session caused a surprise in the hall and a standing ovation from the audience, after which the Ukrainian President denounced the atrocities of Russia’s war in Ukraine and called on the world of cinema not to fall. return to silence. .

“Will the cinema be silent or talk about it (the war)? », He asked.

“We need a new Chaplin to prove to us today that cinema is not silent. (…) Hate will eventually disappear, dictators will die”, he added, in a serious tone.


At the beginning of April, Zelensky had already intervened during the 64th edition of the Grammys, the North American music awards, to ask for help for his country.

The Cannes Film Festival, whose 75th edition began on Tuesday, promised that Ukraine would be “in everyone’s head” by announcing, during the month of April, the programming, for which several films from the country have been selected.

Two generations of Ukrainian filmmakers will be represented, with regular Sergei Loznitsa bringing “Tha Natural History of Destruction” about the destruction of German cities by the Allies during of the Second World War World War, and with the young Maksim Nakonechnyi, with “Bachennya Metelyka” (“Visions of butterflies”), which will be presented out of competition, in the parallel program “Un Certain Regard”.

The event added at the last minute the presentation ofand “Mariupolis 2”the latest film by Lithuanian director Mantas Kvedaravicius, who died in early April in Ukraine.

On the other hand, the appointment The world of cinema refused to receive “official Russian representatives, government institutions or journalists representing the official line” of Russia, but declared itself always ready to welcome dissenting voices, starting with Kirill Serebrennikov. The terrible child of Russian cinema will open the competition on Wednesday with his new film “The Woman of Tchaikovsky”, candidate for the Palme d’Or.

This Tuesday afternoon, at the start of the opening ceremony, presented by actress Virginie Efira, the question of the political commitment of cinema was raised: “Can cinema change the world? I am not sure. But it may change our perception of it. And suddenly, the world has really changed (…) Free filmmakers, that’s what the Cannes festival celebrates”.

The war in Ukraine, which entered its 83rd day on Tuesday, has already caused the flight of more than 14 million people – around eight million internally displaced persons and more than 6.2 million to neighboring countries -, according to the latest data from the UN, which ranks this refugee crisis as the worst in Europe since the Second World War (1939-1945).

Also according to the United Nations, about 15 million people need humanitarian aid in Ukraine.

The Russian invasion – justified by Putin by the need to “denazify” and demilitarize Ukraine for Russia’s security – was condemned by the entire international community, which responded by sending weapons to the Ukraine and imposing sanctions on Russia that affect virtually every sector, from banking to sports.

The UN confirmed on Tuesday that 3,752 civilians died and 4,062 were injured, stressing that the real figures could be much higher and will not be known until there is access to besieged cities or areas until there subjected to intense fighting.

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