“We need a new Chaplin who will prove that cinema is not silent” in the face of war: the Cannes Film Festival immediately gave a political tone to its 75th edition by offering a platform, from Kyiv, to the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky. The surprise appearance of the face of the Ukrainian president, in fatigues, on the screen of the Palais des Festivals, was followed by a long ovation by the gratin of world cinema, gathered for the opening ceremony of a festival which promised that war would be “on everyone’s mind”. “We will continue to fight, we have no other choice. […] I am convinced that the ‘dictator’ will lose,” continued Volodymyr Zelensky, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Charlie Chaplin’s film, which he quoted on several occasions. “I tell everyone who hears me : do not despair, hatred will eventually disappear and dictators will die. We must win this victory and we need the cinema which will ensure that this end is, each time, on the side of freedom”, he again launched. This intervention writes a new page in the long political history of the Festival, founded in 1939 to oppose the Venice Film Festival of fascist Italy, but whose first edition, due to world war, could not be held until 1946.Cinema, a real weapon of massive emotion”The Festival has never ceased to welcome, protect and bring together the greatest filmmakers of their time”, underlined before the president of the jury, Vincent Lindon, recalling the “artistic and civic line” of this world event. Do we do anything other than use the cinema, this weapon of massive emotion, to awaken consciences and shake up indifference? I can’t imagine it!”, he said. In addition to the banishment of official Russian delegations, announced after the invasion, the official selection also bears the shadow of war this year. the film which will open the competition on Wednesday, Tchaikovsky’s Wife, by Russian dissident Kirill Serebrennikov. Seeing this filmmaker, selected three times, climbing the steps for the first time will be a strong symbol. Later in the Festival will also be shown the films by Ukrainians Sergei Loznitsa or Maksym Nakonechnyi, as well as the latest film by Lithuanian director Mantas Kvedaravičius, who was killed in early April in Ukraine, Mariupolis 2.Despite the context, at Cannes, “the show must go on”: actress Julianne Moore, who stars in the first film as director of Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network) and actor Forest Whitaker ensured the quota of glamour, the latter receiving the Palme d’honneur for his career. The atmosphere then changed radically, With l he opening screening of Coupez!, by Michel Hazanavicius, a crazy parody of zombie films and a declaration of love for all films – even the most failed ones. Shy bursts of laughter then real uncontrollable giggles punctuated the screening. The room even offered some applause at the best moments, and a standing ovation at the end. The film, released simultaneously in French theaters, must act as an outlet for a cinema world trying to recover from the pandemic: Cut ! “is joyful, it highlights the people of the cinema, and I hope it makes you want to do it,” the director told AFP.
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