Monday, June 27, 2022

Cannes Film Festival opens with Zelensky video address

Cannes, France (AP) – The 75th Cannes Film Festival began Tuesday with a live satellite video address from Russia’s war in Ukraine and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who urged a new generation of filmmakers to confront dictators. Called as Charlie Chaplin. Satire on Adolf Hitler.

After a tribute and musical number, Zelensky was formally streamed live to the audience who gathered for the premiere of Michel Hazanavicius’ zombie comedy “Final Cut”.

Zelensky, wearing his signature olive green shirt, stood up in a thunderstorm, applauded and spoke at length about the connection between cinema and reality. He did not contrast the current conditions in Ukraine with films such as Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now” and Charlie Chaplin’s “The Great Dictator”.

Zelensky quoted Chaplin’s final speech in “The Great Dictator”, released in 1940 at the start of World War II: “The hatred of men will end, and the dictators will die, and the power taken from the people.” Will be back. People.”

“We need a new Chaplin who will demonstrate that the cinema of our time is not silent,” Zelensky said.

The Ukrainian president exhorted filmmakers to “not keep quiet” while hundreds of people are dying in Ukraine, the biggest war in Europe since World War II, and pointed out that cinema “is always on the side of freedom. “

The war is to be a regular appearance at Cannes, where the festival has barred Russians from attending this year on ties with the government. On the screen are several films by prominent Ukrainian filmmakers, including the documentary “The Natural History of Destruction” by Sergei Loznitsa. Footage, shot by Lithuanian filmmaker Mantas Kvedravicius before he was killed in Mariupol in April, will also be shown by his fiancée, Hanna Bilobrova.

Even “The Artist” filmmaker Hazanavicius’ latest film, “Final Cut”, was renamed from its original title, “Z”, after Ukrainian protesters noted that the letter Z was something Russian in Ukraine. A symbol of support for the war.

Formally dressed stars including Eva Longoria, Julianne Moore, Berenice Bejo and “No Time to Die” star Lashana Lynch were among those who graced the famous Cannes red carpet on Tuesday. More Star-Studded Premieres – “Top Gun: Maverick!” “Elvis!” — look forward to the next 12 days, during which 21 films will compete for the festival’s coveted top prize, the Palme d’Or.

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But Tuesday’s opening and carefully choreographed red-carpet parade followed in the footsteps of the Grand Théâtre Lumire, again restoring one of the grandest pageants of films after a two-year pandemic that hit the cinema annually. Has challenged the tall Cannes.

“Dear friends, let’s get out of this darkness together,” said Virginie Efira, host of the opening ceremony.

After last year requiring regular COVID-19 testing and masks in theaters – and no kissing on the red carpet – Cannes has largely flouted pandemic protocols. Masks are recommended inside but are rarely worn.

Cannes awarded an honorary Palme d’Or to Van Whitaker, who received a standing ovation. Whitaker, who won the Best Actor award at Cannes 34 years ago for his performance as Charlie Parker in Clint Eastwood’s “Bird,” said that as he steps out at the Palais des Festivals on Tuesday, he still says “Clint! Clint!” Ringing in his ears. Eastwood is one of the few others to have been awarded an honorary Palme d’Or.

On Tuesday, Cannes also unveiled the jury that will award the Palme d’Or. French actor Vincent Lindon is leading a jury that includes Deepika Padukone, Rebecca Hall, Asghar Farhadi, Trinka, Ladj Lee, Noomi Rapes, Jeff Nichols and Joachim Trier.

Questions of gender equality have long raged at the Cannes Film Festival, where no more than five female filmmakers have ever been part of the Palme competition lineup and only two female directors have won it. On Monday, Fremaux defended the festival, arguing that it selects films purely on the basis of quality. Hall, who made his directorial debut with the film “Passing” last year, was asked about his opinion on the Cannes record.

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“I believe it is a work in progress. I mean the entire film industry, not just the Cannes Film Festival,” replied Hall. It’s not just about festivals or public-facing situations. It’s about all the nuances of what goes into the industry at large.”

Oscar-winning Iranian director Farhadi also spoke for the first time about the ongoing plagiarism trial about his previous film, “A Hero,” which won the Grand Prix at Cannes last year. A former film student of Farhadi, Azadi Messiahadeh, has accused him of plagiarizing the idea of ​​a film from a 2018 documentary made in a workshop taught by Farhadi.

Elaborating, Farhadi said that “A Hero” was not based on the documentary.

“It was based on a current incident, so this documentary and the film are based on an incident that happened two years before the workshop,” Farhadi said. “When an event happens and is covered by the press, it becomes public knowledge and you can do what you like about the event. You can write a story or make a film about the event. You can see the details of this incident. ‘A Hero’ is just an explanation of this incident.”

Keeping up with the tradition at Cannes, the world’s largest and most fascinating temple to film, cinema, controversy and glamour, come together in the spectacle of 12 days of red carpet premieres and massive movie deal-making above and below the croissant rotates. Theatrical release is a requirement for any film vying for the Palme, which has kept streaming services from playing a big part at Cannes.

But this year, a new festival partner — TikTok — has raised some eyebrows. The festival is hosting TikTok creators from all over the world and is holding a separate competition for the best (very short) videos created during the festival. Cannes artistic director Thierry Fremoux said that TikTok was not the future of cinema.

“Cinema remains the ultimate art,” Framaux said.

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