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François Ozon explained why he released his film in russia

François Ozon (‘8 Women’, ‘Young & Beautiful’) gave an interview to the russian ‘Afisha’ on the eve of the release of the film ‘The Crime Is Mine’ in russian cinemas on June 22 (it was released in Ukrainian cinemas on April 27). The French director explained why he had decided to show his new film in russia, despite calls for a boycott.

DTF Magazine quotes some of Ozon’s answers, particularly about the war, his russian friends, and the censorship of his films

— ‘I am a French filmmaker who strives to tell stories! My ideal of film is to simultaneously reach as many people as possible and remain quite personal. I am not interested in making elitist films, I have to choose a subject that will make us think and address it to a wide audience that may not agree with my ideas in the beginning’.

— ‘The main question for Western filmmakers now is whether we will boycott russia? My film has already been released in Ukraine, and Ukrainian journalists told me: “We hope you will boycott…”. I replied that of course I am against war, but the russian people have a right to information, to see films that can change the mentality, and that’s what I’m interested in first and foremost. I want the film to come out in russia and be seen by russian audiences. To boycott is to play along with Putin. Culture and information cannot have borders’.

From DTF Magazine editors. One of the reasons for the boycott of foreign films in russia is to minimize the taxes paid by distributors to the aggressor state.

— ‘The cruelest thing for me is that we belong to a generation that promised itself that there would be no more war in Europe. And so we see what we see, and it is very disturbing, and there is a great misunderstanding of russia’s attitude toward Ukraine. It makes me very sad because a lot of my russian friends are desperate. They have left russia and are feeling very bad about the situation because they have become outcasts to Western society — in Europe and beyond. But I’m happy that my films can be released because I survived the censorship in russia. The distribution of my film “By the Grace of God” (the story of a grown man who meets again the priest who raped him as a child. — Note from DTF Magazine) was postponed at the last moment (but it was finally released in russia — Note from DTF Magazine). It talks about the Catholic religion but questions the authority of the government, a fact that they must have considered dangerous’.

— ‘In Middle Eastern countries, I am often asked to cut some scenes. I made films that defend sexual freedom and couples, whether they are heterosexual, bisexual or homosexual… I made a film called “Summer of 85”, which was also shown in russia, but I don’t know if they show it there now. Anyway, my films very often criticize patriarchy and the hypocrisy of patriarchy… In my opinion, any family is possible. And when I see that LGBT films are censored in some countries, it makes me sad’.

On the eve of the film’s premiere in Ukraine, Ozon and the leading actors of ‘The Crime Is Mine’ recorded a special video appeal to Ukrainian viewers.

‘I know there is a war going on. It’s important that films come out in your country, especially comedies. So if this film can be useful to you, I will be very happy’, the director said.

The comedy ‘The Crime Is Mine’ is based on the 1934 play by Georges Berr and Louis Verneuil, the events of which take place in Paris in the 1930s.

Young actress Madeleine — played by Nadia Tereszkiewicz, the most promising actress of 2023 according to the Cesar Film Awards — is accused of murdering a famous influential producer because she was the last person to see him alive. Madeleine really went to see him on business and encountered sexual harassment from him. Thanks to her lawyer friend Pauline, the court acquits the young actress and she becomes a true feminist icon and has a successful career. But one visit jeopardizes this success story.

Costume designer Pascaline Chavanne, who created the outfits for Ozon’s film ‘8 Women’, worked on the images of the characters in ‘The Crime Is Mine’.

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