Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivered an empowered dwell video message to attendees of the opening night time of the 73rd version of the Berlin Movie Pageant on Thursday, urging filmmakers and tradition “to not stay silent” with regards to international politics as his nation approaches a 12 months because the Russian invasion.
Zelenskyy, who has made video appearances at outstanding movie festivals like Cannes and Venice, acquired a standing ovation from delegates resembling Anne Hathaway, Peter Dinklage, Sean Penn and Berlinale jury president Kristen Stewart when he appeared on display on the Berlinale Palast tonight.
The Ukraine president drew consideration to the ability cinema can have in instances of political turmoil, citing Wim Wenders’ 1987 Wings of Want as a venture that “broke the Berlin Wall two years earlier than its precise fall within the excellent movie that got here in Berlin the place the divided metropolis is united by angels flying freely over the wall.”
He famous that whereas the town of Berlin as soon as had “a wall and vacancy…now life is booming and the guts of the Berlinale beats.” He identified that the Potsdamer Platz, the hub of the Berlin pageant, as soon as “divided the free world and the totalitarian.”
“It’s not solely about state borders on the map,” he continued. “The wall divided completely different world views and completely different philosophies.”
“At present, Russia needs to construct the identical wall in Ukraine – the wall between us and Europe to separate Ukraine from its personal selection and its personal future, a wall between freedom and slavery.”
The native reference resonated strongly with the native viewers and the worldwide movie neighborhood alike, with not a dry eye in the home. Penn, who’s on the town along with his characteristic documentary Superpower, seemed on admirably from stage the place he had launched Zelenskyy.
The actor-director’s documentary, which is screening as a part of the Berlinale Specials program, chronicles Zelenskyy and the efforts on the bottom in Ukraine in the beginning of Russia’s invasion almost a 12 months in the past.
Penn stated Superpower was “initially the whimsical story of a comic book actor-turned-president” which “wrote itself into one thing very completely different.” Having spent a lot time in Ukraine and initially starting filming on February 24, 2022, the day Russia invaded Ukraine, one factor Penn famous was that within the final 12 months, “nothing has modified when it comes to the need that the Ukrainian folks have, that’s for positive – if something, it’s simply gotten stronger.”
“Can artwork be outdoors of politics? Ought to cinema be out of politics? That is in an everlasting query however immediately this can be very related,” stated Zelenskyy, including that “cinema causes change.”
Politics and tradition have lengthy been intertwined on the Berlinale and this 12 months isn’t any exception with the opening ceremony providing up a giant dose of political statements and movie star glamour. German political figures resembling Berlin’s mayor Franziska Giffey and Tradition Commissioner Claudia Roth have been in attendance, with the latter expressing Germany’s solidarity with the ladies in Iran and Afghanistan.
“We stand beside you and with these males who assist you and who assist you in your wrestle for freedom and liberty,” she stated. “We stand with these girls who need their lives again – a free, self-determined life, not a scenario and existence that’s managed and subjugated by the morality police.”
The pageant kicks off tonight with the world premiere of U.S. title She Got here to Me from director and screenwriter Rebecca Miller. The romantic comedy stars Dinklage, Tomei, Joanna Kulig, Brian d’Arcy James and Hathaway. The movie sees composer Steven Lauddem (Dinklage), who’s creatively blocked and unable to complete the rating for his huge comeback opera. On the behest of his spouse (Hathaway), previously his therapist, he units out looking for inspiration.
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Earlier than the ceremony, members of pupil local weather activist group The Final Era glued themselves to the pink carpet however didn’t interrupt these in attendance.
The Berlin Movie Pageant runs February 16-26.