The announcement comes a year after the two-time Cannes Palme d’Or winner claimed he was snubbed by the Cannes film festival over his support for the Russian president, Vladimir Putin.
Maverick Serbian filmmaker Emir Kusturica will headline the “One Belt, One Road” section of the this year’s Beijing International Film Festival, it was announced Tuesday
The news of the inclusion of Kustrica’s On the Milky Road in the festival comes almost a year after the two-time Cannes Palme d’Or winner claimed he was snubbed by the Cannes film festival over his support for the Russian president, Vladimir Putin.
In comments made public by The Hollywood Reporter at the time, Kustrica told the Russian News Service that “politics has more and more often interfered with the way the Cannes film festival works” and that he suspected “someone gave an order that my film shouldn’t be accepted.”
Cannes said the film was rejected because it was submitted a day after the deadline. In October, the director, actor, and musician was given a Russian “Friendship” award via a decree signed by Putin.
Kusturica, 62, directed On the Milky Road and stars in it as a milkman who falls for a beautiful Italian-Serb woman played by Monica Bellucci during the Yugoslav civil war. The film went on to premiere at the Bridge of Arts festival in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don last August.
The “One Belt, One Road” section of the Beijing International Film Festival is for films from countries Beijing hopes to involve in its much-vaunted trade outreach initiative, which seeks to revive business along ancient Silk Road trade routes.
The high-profile strategic initiative launched by the Chinese president has also become a key part of Beijing’s soft power push with multiple films centering on it getting the green light and the announcement last year of a new US$2 billion film studio and theme park complex in the southwest city of Chongqing based on the political initiative.
Earlier this year critics slammed Jackie Chan’s recent film Kung Fu Yoga for featuring an Indian character in it heaped praise on the project, calling it “brazen political propaganda.”
Other films featuring in the OBOR section include Macedonian drama film The Liberation of Skopje, Iranian domestic drama The Salesman, Filipino drama film Ma’ Rosa, and Indian psychological thriller film Raman Raghav 2.0.
The seventh edition of the state-run event will be held April 16-23.