President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine gave a virtual address to the Cannes Film Festival opening ceremony on Tuesday, invoking Charlie Chaplin’s celebrated satire of fascism to some of the world’s highest-profile stars and filmmakers.
“The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people,” Zelensky said, quoting “The Great Dictator.”
“And so long as men die, liberty will never perish.”
Zelensky appeared at the festival via satellite, wearing his now signature military green shirt, and received a standing ovation from the crowd gathered on the French Riviera.
The address was his latest stop on a persistent and wide-ranging diplomatic tour to keep global attention on his country’s plight. Since Russia’s invasion began in last February, he delivered addresses via video link to governments of countries as large as the United States and as small as Malta on a regular basis.
In April, he made a surprise virtual address at the Grammys, telling the audience that his country’s musicians were wearing “body armor instead of tuxedos.”
“They sing to the wounded in hospitals,” he said, “even to those who can’t hear them.”
Later that month, he made a live-streamed appearance at the Venice Biennale. Speaking at the opening of the exhibition “This is Ukraine,” Mr. Zelensky vividly described the horrors that his people were enduring. With a digital Ukrainian flag fluttering behind him, he said: “There are no tyrannies that would not try to limit art. Because they can see the power of art. Art can tell the world things that cannot be shared otherwise.”
Mr. Zelensky’s oratory efforts have been remarkably effective in securing his country the weapons, aid and international support needed to fight Russia. He previously worked as an actor and starred as an unlikely Ukrainian president in “Servant of the People,” a TV satire that prefaced his own, actual election to the presidency in 2019.
Aurelien Breeden contributed reporting.