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Russian Director Serebrennikov’s House Arrest Extended

Russian theater and film director Kirill Serebrennikov appears at a Moscow court hearing on April 18.

A Moscow court has extended the house arrest of theater and film director Kirill Serebrennikov for three months, meaning he likely will not be able to attend the Cannes Film Festival next month.

"The house arrest will be extended until July 19, 2018," the state-run RIA Novosti news agency quoted Judge Artur Karpov as saying on April 18.

One of Serebrennikov's films, Leto (Summer), will compete for the prestigious Palme d'Or prize at the Cannes event, which runs May 8-19.

He won a prize in Cannes in 2016 with his film The Student.

Serebrennikov, who is the director of Moscow's famed Gogol Theater and has staged productions at the Bolshoi Theater, was arrested in August, accused of embezzling some $1 million in state funds.

He has called the charges "absurd," and his supporters say the case was part of a politically motivated crackdown on Russia's arts community ahead of the March presidential election.

The criminal case against Serebrennikov has drawn international attention and prompted accusations that Russian authorities are targeting cultural figures who are at odds with President Vladimir Putin's government.

Serebrennikov has taken part in antigovernment protests and voiced concern about the increasing influence of the Russian Orthodox Church, which has close ties to the state.

The director was unable to attend the premiere of his highly anticipated Bolshoi Theater ballet about the life of Russian dance legend Rudolf Nureyev in December.

Serebrennikov's arrest raised concerns that the ballet's frank treatment of Nureyev's same-sex relationships had offended Russian authorities.

Iranian director Jafar Panahi, who has been banned from leaving Iran, also has a film, Three Faces, entered in the Cannes festival. He was detained by Tehran authorities in 2010 for criticizing Iran.

With reporting by AFP and Interfax
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