The Berlin Film Festival is the latest to join a long line of cultural and entertainment institutions that have condemned “Russia’s war of aggression” in Ukraine, but like Cannes and Venice, it has not banned Russian films from upcoming events. 

The festival’s statement reads, “The Berlinale staunchly condemns Russia’s war of aggression, which violates international law, and expresses its solidarity with the people in Ukraine and all those who are campaigning against this war”, and adds, “The Russian invasion and attacks on civilian targets such as hospitals, schools and homes have caused a humanitarian and human rights catastrophe in Ukraine. Our thoughts and sympathy are with the victims, the suffering population, and the millions who have fled Ukraine”. 

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However, thus far, Berlin Film Festival has not taken the route chosen by the European Film Academy, the Polish Film Institute, and official film organizations in Ukraine when it comes to outright banning Russian movies. 

Their statement explains, “Even in face of the criminal Russian war of aggression, it cannot be the intention to exclude filmmakers or cultural workers from the Berlinale on the basis of their nationality, or to isolate them. All too often, it is precisely their works that convey criticism of the respective regimes. Consequently, the Berlinale takes a clear stand against a general boycott of cultural works on the basis of their origin, as this would also suppress many critical voices. And the world needs those critical voices”. 

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However, the festival confirmed that Russian delegations and state institutions would be banned from participating in the Berlinale as long as Moscow continues “waging this cruel war against Ukraine”. 

Cannes and Venice film festivals have echoed this, saying they’ll allow films that oppose the current Russian regime to be screened. Meanwhile, Hollywood has decided not to release any of its movies in Russia while the war against Ukraine continues.