Ukrainian voices condemn Russian director’s film at Cannes Festival

A film by Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov premieres in Cannes
A film by Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov premieres in Cannes

A film by Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov, Limonov: The Ballad, sparked controversy upon its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on May 20, drawing criticism from Ukrainians, NV reported.

The film features in the main competition and profiles Eduard Limonov, the late head of the National Bolshevik Party and Other Russia, a figure notorious for his Ukrainophobic and xenophobic views.

<span class="copyright">@скріншот/Festival de Cannes/Twitter</span>
@скріншот/Festival de Cannes/Twitter
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@скріншот/Cannes Film Festiva/Instagram
<span class="copyright">@скріншот/Cannes Film Festival/Instagram</span>
@скріншот/Cannes Film Festival/Instagram
<span class="copyright">@скріншот/Cannes Film Festival/Instagram</span>
@скріншот/Cannes Film Festival/Instagram
<span class="copyright">@скріншот/Cannes Film Festival/Instagram</span>
@скріншот/Cannes Film Festival/Instagram

Marina Stepanska, a Ukrainian director, expressed her disapproval of the festival's decision to feature the film, which is based on a novel by French writer Emmanuel Carrère. "Disconnected from the reality, connected to Russian money would be a proper motto of this Cannes Film Festival," Stepanska commented, highlighting a disconnect she perceives between the festival's cultural role and the ongoing conflict.

Social media posts about the film's premiere saw a flurry of reactions from Ukrainians, who took to the Cannes Film Festival's official platforms to voice their opposition. They argued that featuring a Russian director’s work during Russia’s ongoing war against Ukraine was inappropriate and inconsiderate. Comments often included the hashtag #russiaisaterroriststate, criticizing the film's subject matter and the director’s previous statements.

Online user Mykyta Ihnatkov articulated a common sentiment among detractors on Instagram: "As always, shame on this team and the curator who provide them the power of voice. This director has admitted his favor of Russian terrorism. This guy tolerates people who are invading Europe. Firstly, you give them a chance to invade the festival, and secondly, they invade your country."

Read also: Three Ukrainian films that earned nominations for Oscar in different years

Critics accuse the film of romanticizing a Russian imperialist and argue that the festival is promoting narratives that are out of touch with the geopolitical realities. "A film dedicated to the leader of the Russian Bolshevik and fascist party, from a director who defends Russian oligarchs and Russian soldiers at the Cannes Film Festival. And this is not a joke or a dream! What's next, a retrospective of Riefenstahl's films about Hitler and the Third Reich? The Cannes Film Festival is a complete moral degradation and lack of compassion for the thousands of victims of the Russian genocide of Ukrainians," another netizen stated.

The backlash underscores the complex interplay between culture and politics, as participants and audiences grapple with the implications of showcasing work by individuals from aggressor states.

Read also: Ukrainian Institute reacts to the scandalous statements of a Russian movie director in Cannes

Kirill Serebrennikov, who also participated in the 2022 Cannes Film Festival, has previously spoken against the isolation of Russian culture due to the country's military actions in Ukraine. At a press conference last year, he advocated for support for the families of Russian soldiers and Russian IDPs while calling for sanctions against Russian oligarchs to be eased.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine