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'The hate of men will pass': Volodymyr Zelenskyy speech opens Cannes Film Festival

The leader received a standing ovation after delivering lines from the Charlie Chaplin film, the Great Dictator.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy on a live video call to Cannes.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy on a live video call to Cannes.
Image: The Hollywood Reporter

THE CANNES FILM Festival kicked off yesterday with an eye turned to Russia’s war in Ukraine, and a video message from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Stars including Eva Longoria, Julianne Moore, Berenice Bejo and No Time To Die star Lashana Lynch were among those who streamed down Cannes’ red carpet for the opening of the 75th Cannes Film Festival and the premiere of Michel Hazanavicius’ zombie comedy Final Cut.

More premieres, like Top Gun: Maverick and Elvis, await over the next 12 days, during which 21 films will vie for the festival’s prestigious top award, the Palme d’Or.

But the war in Ukraine remained in Cannes’ spotlight.

During the festival’s opening ceremony, Zelenskyy spoke at length about the connection between cinema and reality, referencing films like Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now and Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator as inspirations to him.

“The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish,” said Zelenskyy.

This year’s Cannes opened with the premiere of Final Cut, which was renamed from its original title, Z, after Ukrainian protesters noted that the letter Z to some symbolises support for Russia’s war in Ukraine.

The war in Ukraine is expected to be a regular presence in Cannes.

The festival has barred Russians with ties to the government.

Set to screen are several films from prominent Ukrainian filmmakers, including Sergei Loznitsa’s documentary The Natural History of Destruction.

Footage shot by Lithuanian filmmaker Mantas Kvedaravicius before he was killed in Mariupol in April will also be shown by his fiancee, Hanna Bilobrova.

Irish film God’s Creatures, starring Paul Mescal, Emily Watson and Aisling Franciosi, and co-directed by Saela Davis and Anna Rose Holmer, will also be premiered at the festival’s the prestigious Directors’ Fortnight strand.

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Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly, Bafta nominated for Lady Macbeth, produced the film.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to premiere God’s Creatures at Directors’ Fortnight,” she said.

Set in a windswept fishing village in Kerry, the film sees a mother lie to protect her son, which rips apart their family and close-knit community.

With reporting from Jamie Mc Carron

 

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