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President Zelenskyy Quotes Charlie Chaplin's Movie About Adolf Hitler During Moving Speech

Rachel Lang

| Last updated 

President Zelenskyy Quotes Charlie Chaplin's Movie About Adolf Hitler During Moving Speech

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has made a surprise appearance at the opening night of the 2022 Cannes Film Festival.

But the former actor didn't appear on the red carpet.

Instead, he issued an impassioned address via satellite to the world's stars and urged them to rise to the occasion in the face of a war 'that can set the whole continent ablaze'.

Zelenskyy referenced several films in his address, most notably Charlie Chaplin's The Great Dictator.


The 1940 film mocked Nazi leader Adolf Hitler as the Second World War was underway.

"The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish," Zelenskyy quoted, as reported by France24.

Zelenskyy at Cannes. Credit: Abaca Press / Alamy Stock Photo.
Zelenskyy at Cannes. Credit: Abaca Press / Alamy Stock Photo.

The Ukrainian leader went on to draw comparisons between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Hitler.


"Again, then as now, there is a dictator," Zelenskyy told the crowd.

"Again, then as now, there is a war for freedom. Again, then as now, cinema must not be silent."

The Ukrainian leader went on to issue a challenge to filmmakers: "We need a new Chaplin to prove today that cinema is not mute."

Appearing in his classic green shirt, the actor turned heroic Ukrainian leader received a standing ovation from those gathered at the French Riviera.


Cannes 2022 opened with Final Cut, a film formerly called Z. It was renamed by French director Michel Hazanavicius after its original title became a pro-Russian symbol.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine is expected to be a hot topic at the film festival, with several works on show from prominent Ukrainian filmmakers.

A special screening of Sergei Loznitsa's wartime documentary The Natural History of Destruction will be held.


Footage will also be screened by Lithuanian filmmaker Mantas Kvedaravicius, one month after his death in Mariupol. Kvedaravicius' film will be shown by his fiancee Hanna Bilobrova.

Cannes has also banned Russian guests with ties to the government.

Zelenskyy's Cannes speech comes shortly after another surprise address at the Grammys.

The Ukrainian leader told audiences in April that his country’s musicians were wearing 'body armour instead of tuxedos'.


"They sing to the wounded in hospitals, even to those who can’t hear them," Zelenskyy said, as reported by The New York Times.

"But the music will break through anyway. We defend our freedom to live, to love, to sound on our land. We are fighting Russia, which brings horrible silence with its bombs."

If you would like to donate to the Red Cross Emergency Appeal, which will help provide food, medicines and basic medical supplies, shelter and water to those in Ukraine, click here for more information.

Featured Image Credit: Ukraine Presidents Office / Alamy Stock Photo. Wikipedia Commons.

Topics: Ukraine, Russia, Vladimir Putin, News

Rachel Lang
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