A French activist supported Ukrainian women raped by occupying invading Russian forces in Ukraine by running onto the red carpet at the 75th Cannes Film Festival on May 20. She had the colours of the Ukrainian flag painted on her breasts and the words “STOP RAPING US.”

She shouted “Don’t rape us!”, as security staff quickly dragged her off the Red Carpet. Representatives of the Cannes Film Festival made no comment. Activists of a French feminist organization called S.C.U.M (Society for cutting up men) said that it had arranged this performance in support of Ukrainian women.

“The S.C.U.M activist took to the red carpet at the Cannes 2022 Festival to condemn sexual violence against Ukrainian women during the war,” S.C.U.M. said in a tweet.


The performance could well be connected to the participation of Russian producer Kiril Serebrennikov with his film “Chaykovsky’s wife” at Cannes. In spite of the festival’s support for Ukraine and a Russian delegation being banned from attending, the official festival program includes Serebrennikov’s film.

He used Cannes as a platform for propagandising Russian culture and for sharing calls to help the families of Russian occupiers who attacked Ukraine and committed acts of genocide against Ukrainians. He opposed the boycott of Russian culture, calling it “intolerable.”

In addition, Serebrennikov called on sanctions to be lifted from Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich.

“It’s very important to help the victims. There are a number of refugees in Ukraine and in Russia, too, and a certain number of lives have been shattered… It’s important to help all the victims and to help those who are sent to fight and the families who no longer have income. Artists have to help these people, and I do so myself,” he said speaking at a news conference.

The entire Ukrainian cinematography community expressed its indignation at Serebrennikov’s presence.

Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov attends a press conference for the film “Tchaikovsky’s Wife (Zhena Chaikovskogo)” at the 75th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France, on May 19, 2022. (Photo by Stefano RELLANDINI / AFP)

After Serebrennikov’s remarks, Iryna Tsilyk, a Ukrainian director and member of one of the juries at Cannes, recalled the director’s connection with Vladislav Surkov, who had been Putin’s right-hand man in the past.

“This director made his film with the money of oligarch Abramovich who is under sanctions now. The director who was friends with Vladislav Surkov and staged his play in the theater. Do you know who Surkov is? He used to be Putin’s right-hand man and he is one of the brightest representers of Russian hybrid war against Ukraine and the implementer of the fifth column system in Ukraine,” Iryna Tsilyk wrote on her Facebook account.

Anna Machukh, head of the Ukrainian Film Academy, also commented on the feminist’s protest.

“She was quickly wrapped in a jacket and escorted so that the social event would not lose its glamor. This is very disgusting. We need to tell Europeans the truth, say what is happening, and especially to explain the causal links that accompany this war. We have a lot of work to do on this front, but, unfortunately, we still have to explain to Europe why cooperation with the Russians now threatens the lives of millions of Ukrainians.”


“As for the appearance of the activist from the French association S.C.U.M. on the red carpet, I think that any reminder about what is taking place in Ukraine is important. It’s another issue that this protest action didn’t cause a particular stir at the festival, which expresses support for Ukraine reluctantly and doesn’t share the point of view of the majority of Ukrainian cinematographers who demanded the cancellation of any Russian presence here for at least the period of Russia’s active aggression in Ukraine,” Sacha Kravchenko, a participant of the Cannes Docs section at the festival and producer of the “Estuaries. Battle for Paradise” film, told the Kyiv Post.

“Surkov is not only an ideologist of the war against Ukraine, he also worked with the fifth column in Ukraine. Roughly speaking, he was the boss of Medvedchuk, Kiva, Tsariov, and other traitors. Surkov also is considered to be a writer, but ends to be a graphomaniac vulgaris. But for Serebrennikov not only the money of the Kremlin does not smell but also even the low aesthetics of Kremlin`s ideologic novelist,” Ukrainian film director, Marysia Nikitiuk wrote on Facebook, commenting on Serebrennikov’s presence at Cannes.

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