Rus­sia blocks Hol­ly­wood thriller day be­fore re­lease


Rus­sia on Wed­nes­day scrapped the re­lease of a new Hol­ly­wood movie, just a day be­fore it was to open, with the cul­ture min­is­ter say­ing it in­sulted the na­tion by de­scrib­ing it as “a sort of Mor­dor.”

“Child 44,” di­rected by Daniel Espinosa, is a mys­tery thriller fea­tur­ing a Soviet po­lice­man in­ves­ti­gat­ing a se­ries of grisly child mur­ders in 1953. Its stars in­clude Tom Hardy and Gary Old­man.

The min­istry said it made a joint de­ci­sion with the film’s Rus­sian dis­trib­u­tor not to re­lease it af­ter hear­ing com­plaints con­cern­ing “dis­tor­tion of his­toric facts and wil­ful in­ter­pre­ta­tion of events ... as well as images and char­ac­ters of Soviet cit­i­zens.”

The min­istry and the dis­trib­u­tor, Cen­tral Part­ner­ship, de­cided that it would be “in­ad­mis­si­ble” to re­lease the movie in Rus­sia in the run-up to cel­e­bra­tions mark­ing the 70th an­niver­sary of the victory over Nazi Ger­many, the min­istry’s state­ment said.

Cul­ture Min­is­ter Vladimir Medin­sky said the movie cast the Soviet Union as “a sort of Mor­dor, pop­u­lated by phys­i­cally and morally de­fec­tive sub-hu­mans, a blood­bath on screen in­volv­ing Orcs and vam­pires.” He was al­lud­ing to the land of evil in J. R. R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings.”

“That is how our coun­try is shown, the coun­try that has just won a great war, be­come a global leader and was close to launch­ing the first hu­man into space,” Medin­sky said in a state­ment.

He added that the Rus­sians should stop adopt­ing “wild cliches” of its his­tory used in the West and feel proud of them­selves as “suc­ces­sors of the great and unique Rus­sian civ­i­liza­tion.”

The min­is­ter’s com­ments re­flected both Rus­sia’s sen­si­tiv­ity about its his­tory and its deep sus­pi­cions about West­ern in­ten­tions.

Rus­sia-West ties are at a postCold War low over the Ukraine cri­sis, and West­ern lead­ers have snubbed the Krem­lin’s in­vi­ta­tion to at­tend a Red Square pa­rade mark­ing the 70th an­niver­sary of World War II victory.

Victory Day, on May 9, is Rus­sia’s most im­por­tant secular hol­i­day and a key el­e­ment of the na­tional iden­tity, re­flect­ing the na­tion’s enor­mous suf­fer­ing and hon­or­ing 27 mil­lion of Soviet vic­tims of World War II.


In this im­age re­leased by Lion­s­gate, Noomi Ra­pace, sec­ond right, and Tom Hardy ap­pear in a scene from the film, “Child 44.”

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