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Filmmaker Letter

Filmmaker Letter

The Will to See

by filmmaker Bernard-Henri Lévy

My film, The Will to See, emerged from my yearlong expedition in 2020 on behalf of Paris Match, The Wall Street Journal, La Repubblica, Der Stern and a host of European papers to places where human suffering predominates.

And, at the core of this film, was a personal account of the situation where, already, the valiant Ukrainians were fighting against the Russian army and screaming, into the void, that the bad will for power of the neo-tzar Vladmir Putin was without limits.

The message was simple.

And it is uttered in this new film, just as I have repeated it over my fifty years advocating for human rights and universal values.

We must not turn our eyes away.

We must pay attention, before it is too late.

We must extend a hand to those in need, oppressed, forgotten and, in Ukraine, those resisting.

The Will to See is a reminder to care.

And it should remind us that, when we care, we also forge bulwarks against hate and authoritarianism.

After two years with a world shut down, in retreat with growing isolationism and, now, confronted with an atrocious war, in the heart of Europe, we must wake up and have the Will to See.

This film is dedicated to the people of Ukraine, whose courage I have borne witness to countless times.

I saw it on the Maidan, where I addressed hundreds of thousands demonstrating and said: “I bow to your martyrs. I bow to your bravery and to the example you have set for all the peoples of Europe. People of Maidan, I admire your courage. With a composure worthy of great peoples, you won a historic victory over tyranny.”

I saw it on the 75th anniversary of Babi Yar when exhorting the public, on behalf of French President Hollande, to directly face, acknowledge and work through the old demons of anti-Semitism within their past.

I saw President Zelensky’s courage when I met him, in March 2019, just before the first round of the Presidential election and I see, now, the heroism of this young comedian who is becoming our generation’s Winston Churchill.

And I witnessed the Ukrainians’ courage when embedded, in Donbass, in 2020, with the same special forces that are now resisting Putin’s squadrons of death.

Now the world is a witness.

May this film push our leaders to muster up an ounce of the courage that the Ukrainians have to properly confront Putin and tyranny around the globe.

Posted April 21, 2022

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