site.bta"War Has Destroyed Russian Culture," Director Theodore Ushev Says in Video Message at Moscow Film Festival
In a video message from Los Angeles to Moscow, Bulgarian/Canadian Oscar-nominated film director Theodore Ushev argued that "the war [of Russia against Ukraine] has destroyed Russian culture." The full text of the statement was posted by the filmmaker on Facebook.
Ushev videoed his message at a news conference on Sunday, after the official media screening of his debut feature film, Phi1.618, which had been selected for the Main Competition of the 45th Moscow International Film Festival. According to the event's official Facebook page, the reaction in the conference room was dead silence.
"Each rocket you fire burns a Russian book. Each of your bombs blows up a poem, destroys a film. With every innocent child or woman killed, you kill one of your writers, artists, directors. War kills your art! Why do you need this? For a piece of land in which not a single potato will sprout after the war? And if it sprouts, it will be poisoned... Poisoned by the grief of the murdered people. I do not understand! Please, we have to do something. Man and love must conquer hate and death. I believe that all is not lost. You must save at least one poem!" Ushev went on to quote, in Russian, a poem by Russian poetess Anna Akhmatova.
He noted that Phi1.618 makes numerous references to Russian culture, adding that the film raises the subject of the destruction of culture, art, love, humanism... "Their destruction by totalitarianism, by dictatorship."
Ushev asserted that "immortality will only benefit dictators, tyrants. All dictatorships are born of the burning desire of a complexed person to write their name in all caps on the eternal stone of history. Tyrants see history only as the eternal stone on which to carve their name. Only dictators want to live forever. Immortality is a path to terror."
On the other hand, "art is ephemeral. If we put all the books in one place, rest assured that there will always be someone willing to push the red button and delete everything," he said, addressing the journalists covering the festival.
Ushev explained in a Facebook post that when he realized that the simultaneous interpreter was censoring his statement, he switched to Russian halfway through his message.