The Cannes Film Festival said Monday that it backs the decision by French filmmaker Michel Hazanavicius to change the name of his film, which originally carried the title Z (Comme Z) and will open the 75th edition of the festival next month.
Hazanavicius and his partners earlier in the day changed the name of the zombie comedy to Coupez! (Cut!). The international title remains Final Cut.
The “Z” in the title was billed as “a tribute to the genre film it echoes,” the festival said in a statement. “Since the letter Z has taken on a warlike meaning with the war of aggression waged against Ukraine by the Russian government, there can be no such confusion or ambiguity.”
The fest added: “With this choice, the film’s director, producers, and distributor, the Festival de Cannes, and by extension, all the French cinema, mark their solidarity with the Ukrainian people who are suffering and reaffirm with force their opposition to the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian army.”
Final Cut will open Cannes on May 17 in its Out of Competition slot. Bérénice Bejo and Romain Duris star in the pic, which follows a small film crew shooting a low-budget zombie movie. Events go south when they are attacked by real zombies.
Hazanavicius, who made the Oscar-nominated The Artist, directed and wrote off a story by Shin’ichirô Ueda and Ryoichi Wada. The pic was originally slated to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival before that event went virtual this year because of concerns over a Covid surge.
Cannes this year returns to an in-person event running May 17-28.
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