Emir Kusturica Says Cannes Festival Rejected New Film due to His Support for Vladimir Putin

Emir Kusturica H 2014
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Emir Kusturica H 2014

"Politics has more and more often interfered with the way the Cannes film festival works," the two-time Palme d'Or winner says, claiming that the film's submission a day after the deadline was just an excuse for the rejection.

Two-time Cannes Palme d'Or winner Emir Kusturica has accused the festival of political bias, saying that his most recent film, On the Milky Road, was rejected due his support of Russia and President Vladimir Putin.

"Lately, politics has more and more often interfered with the way the Cannes film festival works," he was quoted as saying by news agency Russian News Service. "I have suspicions that someone gave an order that my film shouldn't be accepted."

Kusturica admitted that the film was submitted to the festival one day after the official deadline, but said that in previous years that had never been a problem. "The film was submitted, but no one even watched it," he said, arguing the deadline was simply an excuse.

Last week, Kusturica performed in Paris with his band No Smoking Orchestra, opening the show with Russia's state hymn. Over the last few years, Kusturica has repeatedly expressed his support for Putin and the Kremlin's policies toward the Ukraine. Last year, he was banned from visiting Ukraine where he was expected to perform with his band.

The director won the Palme d'Or for When Father Was Away on Business in 1985 and Underground in 1995.

On the Milky Road, which stars Monica Bellucci and the director himself, is scheduled to have its Russian premiere at the festival Bridge of Arts in late August. Based on Kusturica's segment in anthology film Words With Gods, the film focuses on selected critical periods in the life of a man and his country.