The Russian film festival in France showed “Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors” without the permission of the rights holder – the Dovzhenka film studio

The Russian film festival in France showed “Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors” without the permission of the rights holder – the Dovzhenka film studio


The copyright holder of the film is Serhiy Paradzhanov “Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors” – National film studio of feature films named after O. Dovzhenka – did not receive any requests regarding the showing of the film at the Russian film festival in France.

About this UP. Culture reported in the distribution department of the Dovzhenka studio.

The other day it became known that Parajanov’s film “Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors” was shown at the Russian film festival in Paris and Tavern. This festival is organized by the association “Other Russia”, it is held in France for the tenth time and this year is dedicated to the memory of Alexei Navalny.

Festival poster

In addition to the screening of “Shadows”, the program also included a retrospective of the films of the Ukrainian film director, born in Bakhmut, Larisa Shepitko.

The Embassy of Ukraine in France reacted to this and appealed to the Ministry of Culture of France, calling the screenings of Ukrainian films “a blatant case of appropriation“.

Cultural appropriation, or simply speaking, the theft of someone else’s cultural heritage, is traditionally part of the Russian hybrid arsenal… Culture continues to be cynically used to legitimize Russian aggression. It is known that for years this “Russian film” festival relied on the support of the Russian authorities. It is obvious that, despite the seemingly formal change of emphasis by the organizers, their methods remain largely unchanged“, the embassy said in a statement.

Also, the representative of the Ukrainian Institute in France sent an official request to the organizers of the festival to remove the film from the screenings.

The use of Serhii Paradzhanov’s name and his films under the general title “Another Russia” corresponds to the policy of the USSR and modern Russia, namely, colonization and appropriation of the achievements of other cultures. For your information, Serhii Paradzhanov criticized the Soviet cultural policy, which is followed by modern Russia. He was convicted for political reasons, precisely because of his own position and constant support of the Ukrainian intelligentsia. The director stated that he is “an Armenian who was born in Tbilisi and was imprisoned in Russia for Ukrainian nationalism“, the letter says.

The French representative office of UI also mentioned Larisa Shepitko: “It should be noted that Larisa Shepitko, who is also mentioned in your program, is a Ukrainian director from the city of Bakhmut, which was destroyed by the Russian army. It has nothing to do with any Russia – neither with the current one, nor with “another one“.

On the morning of Friday, March 15, UI received a response from the organizers of the festival, where they assure that “resolutely distance themselves from the imperial Great Russian attitude“and chose films and directors”with full knowledge of the facts“.

Not all of them were shot by Russian filmmakers, but the directors who studied in Russia spoke the same language… All of them became victims of pressure from the Soviet film authorities and political forces of their time. Most of these films were not shown in the USSR or were shown in limited quantities“, the answer reads.

They also testify that although Larisa Shepitko was born in Ukraine and graduated from school in Lviv, she studied at VDIK in Moscow and made all her films in Russian.

Regarding the “Armenian from Tiflis” Parajanov, the organizers explain his presence in the program as follows:For us, he is a symbol of those creators who systematically try to go beyond linguistic or ethnic divisions“.

The organizers said that they refuse to remove “Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors” from the festival screenings, because they remain “away from the political struggle“.

The UI said that they are preparing a further joint response together with the French embassy and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. And they added that they agreed with the festival location to hold screenings of films by Serhii Paradzhanov and Oleksandr Dovzhenko.

About “Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors”

“Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors” is a film directed by Sergei Parajanov, based on the novel of the same name by the Ukrainian writer Mykhailo Kotsyubynskyi at the Oleksandr Dovzhenko Film Studio. It was released in 1965 and later gained world fame, it was shown at festivals in Venice, New York, and London.

A few years ago, it was this film that took first place in the ranking of the 100 best films in the history of Ukrainian cinema compiled by experts of the Dovzhenko Center.

In 2023, the restored version of Parajanov’s tape was shown in a special retrospective program of the Venice Film Festival.


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