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Festival de Cannes bans Russian officials unless war in Ukraine ends

‘However modest as it is, we join our voices with those who oppose this unacceptable situation’, a statement from the festival reads

The Festival de Cannes takes place this year between May 17 - 28 Pic: Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock

The world renowned French film festival, Festival de Cannes, is banning any Russian government officials from this year’s event in protest of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

The ban, announced yesterday (March 1) and which also covers anyone with ties to the government, will be upheld unless the war is ended in “conditions that satisfy the Ukrainian people”. 

“As the world has been hit by a heavy crisis in which a part of Europe finds itself in a state of war, the Festival de Cannes wishes to extend all its support to the people of Ukraine and all those who are in its territory,” a press release from the festival states.

“However modest as it is, we join our voices with those who oppose this unacceptable situation and denounce the attitude of Russia and its leaders.

“Unless the war of assault ends in conditions that will satisfy the Ukrainian people, it has been decided that we will not welcome official Russian delegations nor accept the presence of anyone linked to the Russian government.”

Read more: How can I support Ukraine with donations or aid in France?

The iconic festival takes place this year between May 17 - 28. 

The decision does not necessarily mean that Russian actors will be banned, or that Russian films will not be shown. 

The festival instead praised Russians, especially filmmakers, who have protested against Vladimir Putin and his government. 

“We would like to salute the courage of all those in Russia who have taken risks to protest against the assault and invasion of Ukraine,” the press release states. 

“Among them are artists and film professionals who have never ceased to fight against the contemporary regime, who cannot be associated with these unbearable actions, and those who are bombing Ukraine.”

Thierry Frémaux, general delegate of the festival, said that many Russian-made films shown at Cannes in the past have highlighted the oppression of Mr Putin’s governance. 

“Remember Andrei Zviaguintsev's film Leviathan: there is no work that can better express what Russia has become under Vladimir Putin's government recently,” he told Franceinfo yesterday.

“We also have filmmakers like Alexander Sokurov who initially showed support for Putin's government, and who have since changed their minds. 

“We also want to stand by these filmmakers.”

He said that the selection of films for the festival has only just started and that no Russian- or Ukrainian-made films have been assessed yet. 

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