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Ukraine Bans Movies Starring Zelenskiy, Seagal, Depardieu

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy stars in "8 First Dates," the 2012 Russian-Ukrainian romantic comedy that is now banned in Ukraine. Central Partnership

Ukraine’s film authority has banned the distribution of several movies over national security concerns, including a Russian-Ukrainian romantic comedy featuring Ukraine’s current president, it said Tuesday.

The Ukrainian state film agency said it banned a total of five movies in 2019, three of which were banned to comply with a request by Ukraine’s security service. 

Two of the blacklisted movies are the decade-old French fantasy “Trouble at Timpetill” and the Hollywood action film “Machete.”

Ukraine’s film agency said it banned the movies because the former features French actor Gerard Depardieu and the latter features American martial artist Steven Seagal. Both veteran actors hold Russian passports and are banned from entering Ukraine as national security risks.  

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the actor and comedian who swept to power last year as a political novice, stars in the third banned movie. Ukraine’s film agency said it banned the 2012 romcom “8 First Dates” because it features Russian actress and comedian Yekaterina Varnava in a supporting role.

The Ukrainian film agency said it also banned two short films made by two young Russian directors based on an expert commission’s ruling. 

Ukraine began banning Russian films after Moscow annexed Crimea and conflict between pro-Russian rebels and Ukrainian forces broke out in the country’s east in 2014.

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