Controversy on Cannes closing film continues
Vecdi Sayar – CANNES
As the opening of the 71st Cannes Film Festival draws near, the festival issued a statement on April 30 concerning the controversy around the closing film, “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote” by British director Terry Gilliam.
In the statement, the festival declared the film’s Portuguese producer Paulo Branco has taken legal action to prevent the screening of “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote” at the closing event of the festival and the legal application will be considered at an urgent hearing on May 7, the day before the festival opens.
It said the film had been proposed to them by the film’s distributer and sales agent and they had been informed by the producer about the dispute between themselves and the director after the film’s pre-production, but that they would not take a position on such a matter. While the festival is waiting the court’s decision, 300 copies of the film are currently scheduled for release in France on May 19, the closing day of the event.
Their argument is based on the fact that the festival’s mission is “to choose works purely on artistic grounds” and “the selection must above all be with the agreement of the film’s director.”
The festival has had similar experiences before. However, in these cases, the screening of the films were made possible.
The statement said the festival did not act carelessly or in any way “force matters,” as Branco had said. Recalling that he organized a press conference a few years ago where he denounced the Festival de Cannes because it had not kept a “promise to select” one of his films, the statement underlines the fact that the festival does not make promises to select films.
The Cannes Festival strongly affirms they stand squarely on the side of filmmakers and in particular, on Terry Gilliam’s side. “We know how important this project, which has gone through so many trials and tribulations, is to him” said the festival administration. The festival’s statement also said the Portuguese producer has threatened them, via his lawyer, with a “humiliating defeat.”
The festival confirmed their position in their statement.
“At a time when two filmmakers invited to take part in the Official Selection are under house arrest in their own countries, at a time when Wanuri Kahiu’s film, ‘Rafiki,’ which is part of the Official Selection, has just been struck by censorship in Kenya, the country where it was produced, it is more important than ever to remember that artists need us to support them, not attack them,” it said.