The 75th Cannes Film Festival starts tonight: The inevitable coexistence of cinema and politics

The reflections of the reality of the hot war in Ukraine make themselves heard in different fields, including the titles of the films. For example, after the opening ceremony that we will watch tonight, the three-part comedy film by French director Michel Hazanavicius (1967), whose star shines with “The Artist” in 2012, will be presented out of competition, “Z (Comme Z)” in the selections announced a month ago. was named; Ten days later, it turned into a “Coupez” with the reaction of the Ukrainians!

The movie had nothing to do with the war or Russia, but referring to the worst of the serial films that he mischievously made fun of, Z was also the symbol of the Russian army!

Although the sudden change of this unfortunate middle name seems like an example of black humor, it was probably not possible to remain indifferent even to some coincidence in the face of the terrible realities of the Ukraine war…


However, the transformation of this humanist sensibility into a censorship mentality with a meaningless concept of hostility stemming from systematic nationalism, and if the rumors about the pressures for the withdrawal of Kirill Serebrennikov’s film from the main part, were undoubtedly worrying.

Dissident Russian director Serebrennikov (1969) had escaped from Russia, where he had lived under pressure for years, and settled in Germany, but the producer of “Miss Tchaikovsky” selected for the Palme d’Or was one of the Russian oligarchs targeted by economic sanctions!

L’Obs, one of the serious weekly magazines in France, wrote that a semi-official agency responsible for the cultural promotion of Ukraine pressured Thierry Frémaux, who had finalized the selections of the festival, to withdraw Serebrennikov’s film. It was out of the question for a film to be selected or excluded from the main selection for purely political or other subjective reasons. A new one, with a different level and form, was added to the large and small prints that the directors, who determined the art line of the festival, were unfortunately accustomed to for 75 years.

Let’s remember: Exactly forty years ago, Turkish authorities made similar attempts for very different reasons to remove “Yol” (Yılmaz Güney/Şerif Gören) from the list!


Another point that angered the Ukrainian authorities, perhaps, was that Sergueï Loznitsa’s (1964) documentary film, “The Natural History of Destruction”, which was to represent Ukrainian cinema at Cannes, was not included in the main competition but under the special screenings title. . It had been forgotten that the Cannes Festival was not a Eurovision contest type event!

Another documentary, in which we will face the painful realities of the war reflected behind the camera, from the dramatic footage recorded by the camera that witnessed the heat of the Ukrainian war, is a film whose special screening is awaited with great interest in “Mariupol 2” directed by Lithuanian anthropologist director Mantas Kvedaravicius (1976-2022). Known for his documentary “Mariupolis” he made in 2016, Kvedaravicius immediately went to Mariupol when the Russian army entered Ukraine and recorded the reality of the war that the people he saw in his previous film are going through. He is killed with his camera. His teammates, who were able to miss the footage they took from the battlefield, completed the montage of “Mariupol 2” for the festival.

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