Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made a surprise appearance at the 75th Cannes Film Festival, that kicked off on Tuesday in France. In a live satellite video address from Kyiv, Zelenskyy asked for the cinema world's solidarity with the Ukrainians in the face of the Russian invasion.
He spoke at length about the connection between cinema and reality, and even drew references from Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now and Charlie Chaplin's The Great Dictator.
Quoting from Chaplin's 1940 movie Zelenskyy said, "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.”
“We need a new Chaplin who will demonstrate that the cinema of our time is not silent,” he added. The President's speech received a standing ovation.
Zelenskyy emphasised that the future depends on cinema.
“Today, the cinema is not silent. Remember these words. The power they’ve taken from the people will be returned to the people”.Volodymyr Zelenskyy at Cannes Film Festival
The festival has barred Russians with ties to the government. Several films from prominent Ukrainian filmmakers, including Sergei Loznitsa’s documentary The Natural History of Destruction, are set to be screened during the 12-day festival. Footage shot by Lithuanian filmmaker Mantas Kvedaraviius before he was killed in Mariupol in April will also be shown by his fiancée, Hanna Bilobrova.