Cannes 2022: EFA President Agnieszka Holland Slams Fest for Welcoming Russian Movie (Tchaikovsky’s Wife)

EFA President Agnieszka Holland Slams Cannes for Welcoming Russian Movie

11 December 2021, Berlin: President of
Christian Mang/picture-alliance/

European Film Academy president Agnieszka Holland has criticized the Cannes Film Fest for welcoming a Russian movie to the main competition.

The Polish-born director – who fled to France in 1981 when Communist authorities imposed martial law – said now was the time to stand up to Russian aggression in Ukraine.

That demanded a total ban on Russian cultural products in Europe, she said in Cannes on Saturday.

The Oscar-nominated filmmaker, who’s 73, slammed the festival’s inclusion of Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov’s Tchaikovsky’s Wife.

“If it were up to me, I would not include Russian films in the official program of the festival – even if Kirill Serebrennikov is such a talented artist,” the filmmaker said.

Speaking in Cannes at an industry roundtable on supporting the Ukrainian film industry at a time of war, Holland added: “Unfortunately my bad feelings were confirmed by his words. He used the film’s festival press conference to praise a Russian oligarch the film’s funder, sanctioned billionaire Roman Abramovich and compare the tragedy of Russian soldiers to Ukrainian defenders. I would not give him such a chance at this very moment.”

Holland’s 2019 film Mr. Jones focuses on the true story of a Welsh journalist who in the 1930s discovered the truth of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin’s enforced famine in Ukraine – that left millions dead from starvation.

She added that all Russian culture, even 18th century classics, needed reviewing now as the consequences of “Russian imperialistic aggression” became clear.