75th Cannes Film Festival began Tuesday with a look turned to Russia’s war in Ukraine and a live satellite video address by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which called on a new generation of filmmakers to oppose dictators when Charlie Chaplin satirized Adolf Hitler.
After the tribute and musical numbers, Zelensky conducted a live broadcast for the officially dressed audience, which gathered for the premiere of Michel Hazanavičius’ zombie comedy “Final Cut”.
Zelensky, dressed in his branded olive-green shirt, caused a storm of applause and talked at length about the connection between cinema and reality. He noted that films such as Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now and Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator are similar to Ukraine’s current circumstances.
Zelensky quoted Chaplin’s last speech in The Great Dictator, published in 1940, in the early days of World War II: “Youth hatred will pass, dictators will die, and the power they have taken from the people will return to the people.”
“We need a new Chaplin who will demonstrate that the cinema of our time is not silent,” Zelensky urged.
The Ukrainian president called on filmmakers “not to remain silent” while hundreds continue to die in Ukraine, the largest war in Europe since World War II, and to show that cinema is “always on the side of freedom.”
The war will be regularly attended in Cannes, where this year’s festival has not allowed Russians who have ties to the government. Several films by well-known Ukrainian directors are being released, including Sergei Loznitsa’s documentary “Natural History of Destruction.” Footage shot by Lithuanian director Mantas Kvedaravičius before the murder in Mariupol in April will also be shown by his fiancée Anna Bilobrova.
Even “Final Cut,” the latest film by “Artist” Khazanovicus, was renamed from its original title “Z” after Ukrainian protesters noted that the letter Z in some symbolizes support for Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Officially dressed stars including Eva Longoria, Juliana Moore, Berenice Bejo and The star of “No Time to Die” is Lashana Lynch were among those who sailed on the famous red carpet of Cannes on Tuesday. More stellar premieres – “Top Gun: Maverick!” “Elvis!” – wait for the next 12 days, during which 21 films will compete for the prestigious main award of the festival – “Golden Palm”.
But Tuesday’s opening and carefully staged parade on the red carpet leading up the steps to the Lumière Bolshoi Theater have rebuilt one of the most spectacular cinemas after a two-year pandemic that has challenged the heightened growth that Cannes exhibits annually at the cinema.
“Dear friends, let’s get out of this darkness together,” said the host of the opening ceremony, Virginia Ether.
After last year requiring regular testing for COVID-19 and masks in cinemas – and no kisses on the red carpet – Cannes has largely abandoned pandemic protocols. Masks are recommended for use inside, but they are rarely worn.
Cannes presented the Golden Palm of Honor to Forest Whitaker, who received a standing ovation. Whitaker, who won the Best Actor Award in Cannes 34 years ago for his role as Charlie Parker in Clint Eastwood’s “Bird,” said that as he climbed the steps to the Palace of Festivals on Tuesday, he still heard Clint! Clint! ” ring in the ears. Eastwood is one of the few to be awarded the Palme d’Or.
A jury to award the Palme d’Or also opened in Cannes on Tuesday. The jury is headed by French actor Vincent Lindane including Deepika Padukon, Rebecca Hall, Asgar Farhadi, Trinka, Laj Lee, Numi Rapas, Jeff Nichols and Joachim Trier.
Issues of gender equality have long surrounded the Cannes Film Festival, where no more than five women directors have ever participated in the Palme line-up and only two women directors have won. On monday Fram defended the festival, arguing that she chooses films solely on the basis of quality. Hall, who last year debuted as a director in the film “Passes”, was asked how she thinks about the Cannes record.
“I believe this is an ongoing work. I mean for the whole film industry, not just for the Cannes Film Festival, “Hall said.” We need to consider ways to deal with these things at the grassroots level. It’s not just festivals or public situations. about all the little things that are happening in the industry as a whole. “
Farhadi, an Oscar-winning Iranian director, also spoke for the first time about a lengthy plagiarism lawsuit against his previous film, The Hero, which won the Grand Prix in Cannes last year. Farhadi’s former student, Azad Masihzadeh, accused him of stealing the idea of a film from a 2018 documentary she shot in the studio where Farhadi taught.
Farhadi said the “Hero” was not based on a documentary.
“It was based on the current event, so this documentary and this film are based on an event that took place two years before the seminar,” Farhadi said. If the event takes place and is covered in the press, then it becomes well known and you can do with the event what you like. You can write a story or make a film about the event. You can see information about this “Hero” – this is just one of interpretations of this event ”.
In Cannes, which maintains the tradition, the world’s largest and most brilliant temple of film, cinema, controversy and glamor, a 12-day spectacle of premieres on the red carpet and tumultuous filming deals up and down the Croisette. Cinema is a requirement of any film that fights for Palme, which has not allowed streaming services to play a big role in Cannes.
But this year one new festival partner – TikTok – raised eyebrows. The festival hosts TikTok creators from all over the world and holds a separate competition for the best (very short) videos created during the festival. Thierry Fremo, Kahn’s artistic director, acknowledged TikTok is not the future of cinema.
“Cinema remains the latest art,” Fremo said.
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