Vincent Maraval hits back at suggestions that company made the cuts without the director’s blessing.

French outfit Wild Bunch has reacted angrily to persistent rumours that the company was behind the cutting of Nikita Mikhalkov’s competition entry Burnt By The Sun 2, which screens in Cannes in a considerably shorter version than its Russian release cut.

“We always give to the director the final word,” Wild Bunch’s Vincent Maraval insisted. In particular, he is indignant at the suggestion that the company demanded the removal of a topless scene.

The Wild Bunch head of international sales again railed against journalists who’ve attacked the film without having seeing it.

“When we saw the film in Moscow with Nikita, we told him the film is amazing, no problem. We are not going to tell you we can do better. It is just that for the international market, three hours and five minutes is too long,” Maraval said. “The respect of the director is the key for everything we have developed so far.”

With Mikhalkov’s blessing, Wild Bunch worked with a French editor to come up with suggestions for trimming the film. Maraval said that  Mikhalkov accepted some of these suggestions and rejected others –  and that the version screening in Cannes is the director’s own.

As for that topless scene, that – Maraval says – is still in the  film. “At Wild Bunch, we love nudity and blood.”