Video of Zelensky opening the Berlin Film Festival

Culture can speak out against evil or remain silent, the “Berlinale has made a choice”. “Thousands of kilometers lie between us, but we are side by side, there is no wall between us”. This was said by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who spoke live via video at the opening of the Berlinale. “Wim Wenders tore down the Berlin Wall before it fell,” with the angels of “heaven over Berlin,” Zelensky said, adding that “Russia wants to build a wall in Ukraine today, between us and Europe,” between civilization and tyranny, between liberty and tyranny. But Ukraine will resist and protect Europe itself, Zelenskyy said.

The connection to Zelensky was greeted with long applause from the hall, the audience stood up. Among the audience were the German Vice Chancellor and Economics Minister Robert Habeck and Interior Minister Nancy Faeser. Zelenskyy performed after an introduction by actor-director Sean Penn, whose work Superpower – out of competition at the festival – tells about the war in Ukraine and the experiences of the president himself. Zelenskyy said, “where before in Berlin there was a wall and emptiness, now life is growing”, today Russia wants to separate Ukraine “from its choice, from its future” with “the same wall”, with a wall “between freedom and slavery”. . ‘, between ‘right to life and rocket attacks, between progress and the rubble left behind by Russia’. According to the Ukrainian president, culture and cinema cannot stay out of politics when there are “mass crimes, murders, terror, a desire to destroy other cultures” like Russia does. Zelenskyy went on to say that in “humanity’s struggle against evil, there are always two paths: truth and propaganda,” and that the latter cannot win in the end. The President of Ukraine then thanked the Berlinale for its support, which was “not a formality”, and for choosing to represent the event’s bear pin with the colors of Ukraine this year. Ukraine is a fortress of freedom, protecting itself and Europe, “and cannot fall and will win,” concluded Zelenskyy.

“The Berlinale, with all its filmmakers and participants, expresses its solidarity with the people of Ukraine in the fight for independence and strongly condemns the Russian aggression,” said festival directors Mariëtte Rissenbeek and Carlo Chatrian. According to Deadline, it is not excluded that the wife of the President of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, will take part in the premiere of Superpower.

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