ROME (AP) – The cultural response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine intensified on Tuesday when the Cannes Film Festival said Russian delegations would not be welcomed this year and the Venice Film Festival announced free screenings of a film about the 2014 conflict in eastern Donbass.
The announcements of Europe’s two major film festivals followed other high-profile protests in the arts, including a decision by Hollywood to abandon films scheduled for rental in Russia, and a decision by the Munich Philharmonic to fire chief conductor Valery Gergiev. The orchestra, joined by other orchestras and festivals associated with Gergiev, cited his support for Russian President Vladimir Putin and his refusal to repel the invasion.
The Cannes Film Festival, scheduled for May, is the most global of the film festivals, and its international village of flag-waving pavilions hosts more than 80 countries annually from around the world.
In a statement, the festival organizers said that the ban on any official Russian delegation or persons associated with the Kremlin would remain “unless the assault war ends in conditions that will satisfy the Ukrainian people.”
The festival did not rule out the reception of films from Russia. In recent years, Cannes has shown films by filmmakers such as Kirill Serebronnikov, although the director was unable to attend. Serebrannikov is under a three-year travel ban after the Russian government accused him of embezzlement in a case that was protested by the Russian art community and in Europe.
Hollywood continued to make its films from Russian cinemas. After Walt Disney Co., Warner Bros. and Sony have announced a halt to the distribution of films in Russia, including the long-awaited Warner movie “Batman,” Paramount Pictures also announced Tuesday. This includes future releases such as “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” and “The Lost City”.
Meanwhile, the Venice Film Festival has announced that it is organizing free screenings of the film “Reflection” about the conflict in the eastern Donbass in solidarity with the people of Ukraine.
Screenings are scheduled for next week in Rome, Milan and Venice.
The film, which was presented at a competition in Venice last year, tells the story of a Ukrainian surgeon who was captured in Russia during the conflict in the Donbass in eastern Ukraine. In 2014, Russia launched an uprising in the predominantly Russian-speaking region of eastern Ukraine, known as the Donbass, where Russian-backed rebels seized government buildings and announced the creation of “people’s republics.”
“Reflection” shows the horrors of war as well as the surgeon’s efforts to restore the surgeon’s relationship after his release.
It was directed by Ukrainian director Valentin Vasyanovich, whose film “Atlantis” in 2019 also took place in eastern Ukraine and touched on similar issues of war and trauma. “Atlantis” won the award for best film in the experimental section “Horizon” of the Venice Film Festival 2019. Advertising became Ukraine’s candidate for the “Oscar”.
Earlier this week, the Venice Biennale art exhibition, part of the annual film festival, announced that the curator and artists of the Russian pavilion were leaving their posts in protest of the war in Ukraine.
Last week, the European Broadcasting Union announced that Russia would not be allowed to participate in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Turin in May.
The winner of the 2016 contest was the Ukrainian singer Jamal, who won with a song about the deportation of Crimean Tatars in 1944 by Joseph Stalin. On Tuesday, it turned out that she and her two children had fled Ukraine to Turkey.
Crimean Tatar Jamal told reporters in Istanbul that she never imagined that she would end up with the same fate as her grandmother, who she said had “only 15 minutes to pack” during the forced deportation in 1944. year.
The singer said she left Kyiv for Ternopil in western Ukraine, where she thought her family would be safe, but decided to move to Romania when she woke up from the blasts there as well. Her husband stayed in Ukraine.
Coyle reported from New York; Susan Fraser in Istanbul contributed.