Pioneers of Ukrainian cinema demand removal of Russian films from venues and festivals

Whether directors, actors, critics or festival directors, these veterans of the Ukrainian seventh art, now refugees, warn of the threat posed by Russian films, vectors of propaganda.

All generations of Ukrainian cinema condemn the war raging in Ukraine. After calling on seven filmmakers for an all-out boycott of Russia, veterans of the Ukrainian seventh art are challenging the international community about the threat posed by Russian films, vectors of Vladimir Putin’s propaganda.

Director Roman Balayan – one of the first who openly condemns Russian cinema. “It would be, to put it mildly, strange, after the inhuman and fascist actions of Russia in Ukraine, if international film festivals allowed Russian films to participate in their programs this year” worries an octogenarian. Evacuated from Kyiv, he now finds refuge on the border of Hungary with Ukraine.

Critic and historian of Ukrainian cinema, Lubomir Khoseiko now lives in France. This testifies to the impact of the rejection of Russian cinema on French festivals. Although the Cannes Film Festival is satisfied with the refusal of official Russian delegations, the writer notes that not all of them agree to boycott Russian film screenings. As well as the ongoing film festival Les Reflets du cinema in Le Mans, whose program is dedicated to the Black Sea cinema, which includes Ukrainian and Russian films. Faced with this service, Lubomir Khoseiko calls “to boycott Russian cinema at all film events in France and Europe”.

Actress and pioneer of Ukrainian theatre, Ada Rogovtseva, 84 years old, believes “that the screening of Russian films at film festivals is now completely unacceptable. This country sows death, not reasonable, kind, eternal. she sings. The artist contributes to the war effort by volunteering from home. She feeds and bleaches the volunteers who have gone to the front. A young actor died there, with whom she was supposed to return to the stage on March 18. “It’s like burying a son.”

Russian by origin, Ukrainian by nationality, Sergey Bukovsky, documentary filmmaker, including Call your name, produced by Steven Spielberg, was in the ring when the Russian offensive began on February 24. Together with his family, he fled his village to reach the Romanian capital. “All movie hard drives are at home. Thank God our producer uploaded all the material for a new work that I just started editing. Now we are thinking about how to continue this extremely important work for the present times.”.

In his statement, the director accuses the Russian authorities of carrying out “brainwashing” to its population. The cultural sphere would “committed to this work, including in cinema.” Sergey Bukovsky confirms that since 2014, films about Russian troops have been produced in Russia, glorified as “heroes going to liberate the peoples of Crimea and Donbass from Ukrainian nationalists“.

Vladimir Voitenko, the chairman of the board of directors of the Union of Film Critics of Ukraine is determined to stay in the country, no matter what, shares the opinion of director Sergei Bukovsky. Russian films they qualify as “imperial weapons of the Russian world”should be removed from cinemas, venues and festivals”,despite all their artistic merit“. According to him, this conclusion will lead to “true disarmament of the bloody and dying Russian Empire”.

“The only way to change the fascist regime of Putin’s Russia is complete isolation from Russian society, Russian culture and sports.– says Andrey Khalpakhchi, director of the Kiev International Film Festival “Molodist”, the largest film festival in the country. The seventy-year-old, in turn, supports “completely complete boycott of Russian cinema, regardless of the civil position of some directors” and regrets that the Molodist festival has not excluded a single Russian film from its program in recent years.

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