Ukraine film-makers horrified by Top Gun jet display at Cannes

AFP , Thursday 19 May 2022

The roar of fighter jets over Cannes to welcome "Top Gun: Maverick" was far from welcome by the team behind a documentary about the Ukraine war, they said Thursday.

Top Gun
The French elite acrobatic flying team Patrouille de France (PAF) flies over the Festival Palace, as the cast arrive for the screening of the film Top Gun : Maverick during the 75th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France, on May 18, 2022. (Photo: AFP)


The festival gave a special screening to "Mariupolis 2", a documentary about the devastated city of Mariupol by Lithuanian director Mantas Kvedaravicius, who was killed in Ukraine last month -- reportedly by Russian forces.

The team who helped complete the film and bring it to Cannes told AFP they were horrified the previous evening when a French Air Force display team screeched across the sky as part of celebrations for the new Tom Cruise blockbuster.

"I was with a friend from Mariupol, a producer. She's been experiencing the war for eight years," said Hanna Bilobrova, the girlfriend of Kvedaravicius, who was with him in Mariupol up to his death.

"We were on the balcony and heard jets flying and we almost lay down. Bombs didn't follow. (My friend) began to cry.

"(She) was very ashamed about her reaction and I said there's nothing to be ashamed about. We're still alive," Bilobrova added.

"Being in Mariupol, you get used to bombs. It's always like that -- people dying."

The air display team made multiple fly-pasts over the red carpet as Cruise and his co-stars made their way into the theatre on Wednesday evening.

Alongside the usual glitz and glamour, the Cannes Film Festival has given a platform to Ukrainian film-makers this year and featured a video message from President Volodymyr Zelensky at its opening ceremony.

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