Russian Cannes contender defends Roman Abramovich as ‘patron of the arts’ | Cannes 2022

Dissident Russian film director Kirill Serebrennikov calls for removal of Roman Abramovich, one of the investors behind his latest film. The Russian oligarch is now trying to sell Chelsea FC because of financial constraints imposed on him by the British government, and he is a valuable arts patron, the director said.

Serebrennikov added that Abramovich’s record as a major film sponsor should be taken into account. Cannes Film Festival“We have to lift the sanctions on Abramović. He has been a real patron of the arts, and in Russia, that has always been appreciated,” the director said after the film’s premiere on Wednesday night Tchaikovsky’s wifewhich is the coveted scramble for the festival Palme d’Or prize.

Serebrennikov, one of the few Russian filmmakers asked to participate in this year’s festival, is using the platform to oppose a general boycott of Russian art and culture. Russia in Europe.

According to festival organizers, Serebrennikov’s entry is eligible because it was made before the war Ukrainealthough it is unclear whether the decision is in line with European sanctions against the economic interests of the Russian oligarchs.

Ukrainian representatives at Cannes have questioned the timing of the filming itself, which they claim could last until April. In an interview on Thursday, Serebrennikov said he had not received money directly from the Russian government since he was a student. Funding at the time came from civil servants, not directly from the wealthy, he said. “So far, it’s not toxic money,” he said. “There’s nothing to be ashamed of.” He added that Abramović’s film foundation, Kinoprime, helped fund his last two films.

Serebrennikov (far right) poses with producer Ilya Stewart (far left) and the stars of Tchaikovsky's wife Odin Biron and Alona Mikhailova.
Serebrennikov (far right) stars with producer Ilya Stewart (far left) and Tchaikovsky’s wife Odin Biron and Alyona Mikhailova. Photo: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Peter Tchaikovsky and Antonina Miliukova, examining 19th-century repressive attitudes toward homosexuality, women, and mental health. A regular at the Cannes Film Festival in recent years, Serebrennikov attended the competition remotely last year because of the pandemic. He said his joy of attending in person in May was overshadowed by the war in Ukraine.

“I’m very unhappy to be here because there are bombs in the city,” he said. The director explained that his criticism of the war caused him trouble in Russia. In 2020, Serebrennikov Convicted of corruption and sentenced to probation, criticized before Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and has spoken out in support of Russia’s beleaguered LGBTQ+ community. “I was summoned to court and I was released on bail. So I came to Europe because that’s where the job is.”

This year’s festival did not accept an official Russian delegation, and Serebrennikov questioned the universality of such a ban. “I can understand people calling for a boycott, but I don’t accept it,” he said.

“What’s happening in Ukraine is very painful. It’s unbearable,” he added, explaining that he believes “this thrust of Russian imperialism should stop.” But he said he doesn’t think a blanket cultural ban is the answer. “Culture is air, it’s water, it’s cloud, so it’s completely independent of nationality,” he said.

The question of Russia’s place in the film industry and its role in entertainment during the war continued to dominate the festival’s opening day, taking cues from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s speech. Delivered on holiday Via Screen Tuesday.

“Will the cinemas be quiet, or will they be louder? If there is a dictator, if there is a fight for freedom, everything again depends on our unity. Can cinema break away from this unity?” Zelensky asked.

Thursday also saw the premiere of the documentary Mariupolis 2, based on rescue footage of a new project in Ukraine by Lithuanian filmmaker Mantas Kvedaravičius. Kvidalavichus killed in clashesbut his fiancée Hannah Bilobrova brought the director’s finished footage to a special screening room at the Palais des Festivals.

The Cannes Film Festival will also see the controversial “Natural History of Destruction” directed by Ukraine’s most famous filmmaker, Sergei Loznica, who is of both Russian and Belarusian ancestry. March, Ukrainian film academy expelled from Loznica Because he does not support his call to boycott all Russian films.

Serebrennikov was asked if he would donate proceeds from Tchaikovsky’s wife to Ukrainian war victims, something Abramovich said he would With the money he got from the sale of Chelsea FC. Alyona Mikhailova, the actor who played the composer’s wife in the film, was visibly moved by Serebrennikov’s reply that he wanted to serve the Russian families and Ukrainians badly affected by the war provide support.

“It is very important to help all the victims. The Russian people are also traumatized, some can no longer work or they have left their families,” Serebrennikov said. It’s unlikely there will be any gains, his producer Elijah Stewart explained. “We’re far from making money off this film. The context is that it’s an investment in art.”

Returning to his call for the lifting of sanctions on the Chelsea FC owner, Serebrennikov said: “Abramovich created Kinoprime to support the best Russian films of recent years, these are certainly not propaganda films, but On the contrary. Zelensky also demanded that he should not be subject to any sanctions because he could be one of the key figures in peacemaking.”

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