The cultural backlash against Russia escalated due to the invasion

Rome (AFP) – The cultural reaction against the Russian invasion of Ukraine It intensified on Tuesday as the Cannes Film Festival said no Russian delegations would be welcomed this year, and the Venice Festival announced free screenings of a film about the 2014 conflict in Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region.

The announcements from the two major film festivals in Europe followed other high-profile protests in the arts, including Hollywood’s decision to withdraw films due to be shown in Russia. And the decision of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra to dismiss the conductor of the orchestra, Valery Gergiev. The orchestra, joined by other orchestras and festivals associated with Gergiev, signaled his support for Russian President Vladimir Putin and his refusal to reject the invasion.

Cannes, scheduled for May, is the most international film festival in the world, and its international village of flag-waving pavilions annually hosts more than 80 countries from all over the world.

The festival’s organizers said in a statement that the ban on any official Russian delegation or individuals linked to the Kremlin will continue “unless the war of aggression ends in conditions satisfactory to the Ukrainian people.”

The festival did not rule out accepting films from Russia. In recent years, Cannes has shown films by such directors as Kirill Serebnikov, although the director was unable to attend.. Serebrenkov has been banned from travel for three years after being accused of embezzlement by the Russian government in a case protested by the Russian art community and in Europe.

Hollywood continued to direct its films from Russian theaters. After Walt Disney, Warner Brothers and Sony announced that they would stop distributing films in Russia, including Warner’s upcoming “Batman,” Paramount Pictures similarly announced on Tuesday. This includes upcoming releases such as “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” and “The Lost City”.

Meanwhile, the Venice Film Festival said it was organizing free screenings of the film “Reflection” on the conflict in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine as a sign of solidarity with the people of Ukraine.

Shows are scheduled for next week in Rome, Milan and Venice.

The film, shown in competition in Venice last year, tells the story of a Ukrainian surgeon who was captured by Russia during the Donbass conflict in eastern Ukraine. In 2014, Russia threw its weight behind an insurgency in the Russian-speaking region of eastern Ukraine known as Donbass, in which Russian-backed rebels seized government buildings and declared the creation of “people’s republics”.

“Reflection” shows the horrors of war as well as Jarrah’s efforts to rebuild relationships after his release.

It was directed by Ukrainian director Valentin Vasyanovich, whose film “Atlantis” in 2019 was also shot in eastern Ukraine and dealt with similar issues of war and trauma. “Atlantis” won Best Film in the Orizzonti Experimental section of the 2019 Venice Film Festival, Ukraine’s Oscar-nominated ad.

Earlier this week, the Venice Biennale art gallery, of which the annual film festival is a part, announced that the curator and artists at the Russian Pavilion had resigned from their positions to protest the war in Ukraine.

Last week, the European Broadcasting Union announced that Russia would not be allowed to enter this year’s Eurovision Song be held in Turin in May.

The winner of the Eurovision 2016 contest was the Ukrainian singer Jamala, who won a song about the 1944 deportations of the Crimean Tatars by Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. On Tuesday, it was revealed that she had fled from Ukraine to Turkey with her two children.

Jamal, a Crimean Tatar, told reporters in Istanbul that she never imagined she would share the same fate with her grandmother, who said she “had only 15 minutes to pack her belongings” during the forced deportations in 1944.

The singer said she left Kyiv for Ternopil in western Ukraine, where she thought her family would be safe, but decided to cross to Romania when she woke up to the sound of explosions there too. Her husband, like all men from 18 to 60 years old, remained in Ukraine.


Coyle reported from New York. Susan Fraser contributed to Istanbul.


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