Speech by the President of the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation (ECTR) Viatcheslav Moshe Kantor at the ceremony of awarding film director Andrey Konchalovsky with the European medal of tolerance. Brussels, European Parliament, January 25, 2017
Mr. President of the European Parliament
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,
The person we are distinguishing today, Andrei Konchalovsky is a colourful and charismatic personality. He is a screenwriter, film director and film producer.
The European Medal of Tolerance is bestowed upon Andrei Konchalovsky in recognition of His lifelong achievements in the area of art and culture.
His career is impressive.
Andrei directed 27 films and acts as an opera director at La Scala, the Covent Garden, the Metropolitan Opera and the Mariinsky Theatre. He is also known for his documentaries and theatre projects all over the world.
He created in Russia, in many European countries and in Hollywood. The works of Konchalovsky have a deep moral and ethical meaning, emphasizing tolerance and reconciliation as important features of our societies.
Born just before the second World War to an aristocratic family of Russian intellectuals, his experiences as a child during the darkest period of modern history influenced his creative activities.
Reflections on war and Holocaust occupy a central part of his legacy and serve as a source of inspiration to draw universal lessons for humanity. Already in 1990, Konchalovsky depicted the issue of anti-Semitism and persecution of Jews during Stalin’s rule in his film “The Inner Circle”. It is a story of a little Jewish girl, whose parents were arrested and disappeared in the Gulag.
His finesse and exceptional talent are best reflected in his last drama, “Paradise”, which is touching upon human relations in times of the Shoah.
On the background of human fate - and love - Andrei reminds us how important it is to uphold our humanity, and how easy it is to loose moral and ethical guidance in times of war.
His movie has won the Silver Lion at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival.
Few weeks ago it was shortlisted in the nine “Best Foreign Language Films” to be considered for the OSCAR Academy Award.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
If there is reason to worry today about the rising extremism, intolerance and hatred, there is also hope.
This hope is incarnated in the work and art of Andrei Konchalovsky, which shows creativity, intelligence, responsibility and wisdom.
He declared lately: “While evil grows of itself, goodness needs an effort to create”. We need this effort today more than ever.
Andrei Konchalovsky, I am honoured to award you with the European Medal of Tolerance.