Swiss screening of film about Ukrainian exile stopped in China
A screening of the film Olga organised by the Swiss embassy in Beijing was cancelled at short notice on Thursday by Chinese authorities, despite the protests of Swiss diplomats.
The reasons given for the last-minute cancellation were first of all the coronavirus pandemic, and secondly the content of the film, the Swiss foreign ministry confirmed on Friday.
The Swiss embassy in China “immediately” protested the sudden cancellation, the ministry said. The private screening was set to be attended by 66 guests, including 10 foreign ambassadors based in Beijing. The event had been planned since last November, as part of a month celebrating French-language culture in China.
The Swiss-French feature Olga tells the story of a 15-year-old gymnast torn between her life in Switzerland – where she is training for the European championships – and Ukraine, where her journalist mother is covering the 2013 Euromaiden protests.
Last week, Olga won the prizes for best feature film, best screenplay, and best sound at this year’s Swiss Film Awards. The film, directed by Elie Grappe, was also Switzerland’s entry for best international feature film at this year’s Oscars.
Since the invasion of Ukraine in February, China has tried to maintain a neutral stance towards the conflict, neither condemning the actions of its strategic partner Russia, nor backing the Western sanctions against Moscow.Keystone-SDA/dos