Staunton, April 16 – Moscow’s decision to ban the film “Number 44” for its supposedly anti-Russian treatment of World War II is only one of the decisions the Russian authorities have made to restrict the right of Russians to view what they want. But these prohibitions are going to blow up in Moscow’s face: bans are often the best advertisement a film or anything else can get.
Rufabula.com today features a list of ten of the most interesting films, including “Number 44,” that the Putin regime has banned from being shown in Russian theaters in recent years but that many Russians have seen or will view anyway via DVD or online (rufabula.com/articles/2015/04/16/prohibited-movie). According to the portal, the “top 10” are:
No. 10: “Anonyma – Eine Frau in Berlin,” 2008, directed by Max Ferberboch. This film with both German and Russian actors focused on “one of the most scandalous themes of World War II: the raping of German women by Soviet soldiers.”
No. 9: “Khaytarma,” 2012, directed by Akhtem Seytablayev. “One of the best Ukrainian films of recent years,” according to Rufabula.com, “it tells the story of the deportation of the Crimean Tatars in 1944.” It has received numerous awards but was banned by the Kremlin from being shown at film festivals in Russia.
No. 8: “Maydan,” 2014, directed by Sergey Loznitsa. This documentary film, which shows that the Kremlin’s claims about what the Ukrainian Revolution of Dignity was about are nonsense, has “practically no chance” to be shown in Russia anytime soon.
No. 7: “Purge” (“Puhdistus”), 2012, directed by Antti Iokinen. A film based on the novel of Finnish writer Sofi Oksanen about two Estonian families who suffered under the Soviet occupation, it has already won numerous international prizes but can’t be shown in Russia.
No. 6: “Paths” (“Pouta”), 2009. Directed by Radim Spacek. Named the best Czech film of 2009, it tells the story of a Czechoslovak KGB officer who like “You Know Who” triumphs over everyone but can’t find a place for himself in the system.
No. 5: “Tangerines,” 2013, directed by Zaza Urushadze. A nominee for the Oscar as best foreign film, this movie can’t be shown in Russia because it attempt to present an honest retelling of what happened in the Georgian-Abakhaz war of 1992, something that doesn’t fit the politically correct matrix of Moscow today.
No. 4: “Dead Snow 2,” 2014, directed by Tommy Wirkola. A Norwegian-Icelandic horror comedy, it tells the story of east-west clashes featuring zombies and makes fun of some of the pretensions of certain rulers in power now.
No. 3: “City 44” (“Miasto 44”), 2014, directed by Jan Komasa. A Polish film about the Warsaw Uprising, this film offends some Russian sensibilities by pointing out that the Red Army stood at the gates of the Polish capital long enough for the Germans to destroy most of the Poles who rose in revolt against Nazi rule.
No. 2: “Crosswind” (“Risttuules”), 2014, directed by Martti Held. A film which has won prizes throughout Europe, this movie tells the story of the deportation of Estonians in June 1941, a few days before the Nazi invasion.
No. 1: “Roza” (“Roza”), 2011, directed by Wojciech Smarzowski. The film tells the story of the Mazurs, a people caught in the lake region between Russian-Soviet and Polish-Soviet “fires” after the end of World War II. It won the award for the best Polish film of 2012.
In presenting this list – and it is only a sample of the kind of material the Kremlin doesn’t want Russians to view – Rufabula notes that “Hollywood whose production is difficult to ignore in recent years practically hasn’t made a ‘Russophobic’ film.” Instead, radical Islamists have taken first place in that regard.
But, the editors of the portal say, it seems unlikely that Hollywood will ignore the possibilities being banned in Moscow open. After all, when the North Koreans became angry about the movie “The Interview,” that film went on to earn millions. How much more a Kremlin ban could make any new auteurs can only be guessed at.