Kicking off the Venice Film Festival, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed the opening ceremony on Wednesday, 31 August, calling upon the global community to "not forget about the war in Ukraine."
He addressed the ceremony via a video message.
Zelenskyy sent a recorded message telling the audience, "not to remain silent, not to be afraid....not to remain neutral to the war in Ukraine."
He described the war in Ukraine as "a horror which is not 120 minutes long, but 189 days long."
"Your stance is strong...do not turn your back on Ukraine," he said before he listed the names of the 358 children that were killed since the Russian invasion in Ukraine.
The Venice Film Festival is marking 90 years since its first edition. Celebrities and politicians such as Hillary Clinton were seen walking the carpet.
Zelenskyy's Cannes Film Festival Speech
Zelensky had earlier given a speech at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2022. In that speech, he had referred to Charlie Chaplin's The Great Dictator and the role played by the film in denouncing Hitler during the second world war.
He said, "The 1940 picture didn't destroy the real dictator, but thanks to this film, cinema was not silent."
"On 24 February, Russia began a war of huge proportion against Ukraine with the intention of going further into Europe...Hundreds of people die every day. They are not going to get up after the end clap...Will cinema stay silent, or will it talk about it? If there is a dictator, if there is a war for freedom, again, it all depends on our unity. Can cinema stay out of this unity? ... We need a new Chaplin who will prove that, in our time, cinema is not silent," he added.
He further said, "I say to everyone who hears me: do not despair; hatred will eventually disappear and dictators will die. We have to win this victory and we need cinema to ensure that this end is always on the side of freedom."
It is currently the 189th day of the ongoing war in Ukraine between Russia and Ukraine.
On 24 February this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a "special military operation" in Ukraine and invaded the territory of Ukraine via land, sea and air. Since then, the ongoing war between the two countries has killed and displaced countless people, and destroyed cities.