Catherine Deneuve, the 79-year-old French film star best known for her roles in Belle de Jour, Indochine and dozens of other films, has been a staunch supporter of Ukraine since the start of the full-scale invasion.

She inaugurated the 76th Cannes Film Festival today by reciting a poem, "Hope," written by Ukraine's great poetess Lesya Ukrainka and translated into French. 

At the Venice Film Festival earlier this year, Deneuve appeared with a blue-and-yellow flag on her shirt and noted that her mind and soul were with Ukraine.

Lesya Ukrainka, born Larysa Petrivna Kosach in 1871, is considered the first great Ukrainian poetess. She was also a political activist and one of Ukraine’s earliest feminists. Most recently she has come back into prominence with the animated film of the poetic play, she wrote in 1911: Mavka: The Forest Song. Ukrainka died in 1913, in Tbilisi, where she went to try to recover from a chronic illness.


The poem “Hope,” which was written in 1880, when she was eight years old, is translated into English below:


I have no happiness, and I am not free,

There’s only one hope left for me:

To return to Ukraine once again,

And see my native land in the end,

Have another look at the blue Dnipro –

No matter if I live or die there alone;

Have one more look at the steppe and graves,

Let one last passionate reverie rave...

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I have no happiness, and I am not free,

There’s only one hope left for me.

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