Russian spy film a late entry to Cannes

'Litvinenko Case' to screen Saturday

The Cannes Film Festival will host the surprise world premiere Saturday of “Rebellion: The Litvinenko Case.”

Docu, filmed over the last four years of his life, about the plutonium poisoned Russian ex-spy Alexander Litvinenko is an unexpected late addition to the Official Selection, which festival organizers are expected to announce today.

Russian feature and docu maker Andrei Nekrasov, a friend of the former spy, and Olga Konskaya made the one hour 53-minute docu. The two helmers are due in Cannes to attend Saturday’s screening along with Litvinenko’s widow Marina, in the Palais des Festival’s Bunuel Theater.

The festival got its hands the docu just days before this year’s event got under way, hence organizers decision to announce it mid fest. Its politically sensitive content was doubtless another reason to keep it under wraps since the festival has two Russian films in competition.

Docu is produced by German company Dreamscanner Prods. France’s Rezo is handling international sales.

Litvinenko died an agonizing death — followed live by the world’s media — in November after ingesting radioactive Polonium-210, slipped into his tea during a meeting in London where he had been living in exile.

On his deathbed he accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of ordering his assassination.

Nekrasov, whose docu “Disbelief” screened in Sundance in 2004, filmed Litvinenko from his forced exile from Russia, to his death in a London hospital.

Pic implicates Putin in Litvinenko’s killing, and in a series of interviews and never-before-seen footage also makes a wider attack on Putin, his rise to power, and corruption in Russia today.

Nekrasov said Tuesday: “Making this film was a personal catharsis for me, a way of coping with the shock of losing a friend, who died a terrible death in front of my eyes.”

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