Monday, April 15, 2019

Eight Russian Films Provide a More Honest Picture of Caucasians

Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 15 – Russian popular films and television series have long presented ugly stereotypes of the people of the Caucasus, a major reason why so many Russians have negative views of them from 1993 when Yeltsin launched his campaign against “persons of Caucasus nationality” to Putin’s call for drowning his opponents there in an outhouse.

            But there are exceptions to this pattern, and Yuliya Vasilenko, a student at the Vladikavkaz School of Interethnic Journalism, has come up with a list of eight films and television serials that provide a more honest picture of what the people of the Caucasus are like (

            Most of them are available on YouTube and can be viewed by those who know Russian. But even those who don’t can get a sense from the actions and expressions of the actors a great deal more about what people from the North Caucasus are like and how they interact with Russians in real life and not as some Putin regime spokesman would like Russians to believe.

            Vasilenko’s list includes the following:

·         Korobka -- “The Box”, a sports drama from 2015 directed by Eduard Bordukov

·         Tesnota – “The Squeeze,” the story of various ethnic communities, including Jews, in Kabardino-Balkaria of the 1990s, released in 2017, directed by Kantemir Balagov

·         Ch/B – a comedy about criminal misadventures involving both Russians and non-Russians, released in 2014, directed by Yevgeny Shilyakin

·         Teli i Toli – “Teli and Toli,” a comedy about life on the border between North Ossetia and Georiga, released in 2015, directed by Aleksandr Amirov

·         Lyubov s aktsentom – “Love with an Accent,” a combination of five different stories from Georgia, released in 2012, directed by Rezo Gigineishvili

·         Bez Granits – “Without Borders,” the story of a soccer player who thinks only about money but who falls in love across an ethnic border and is transformed, released in 2015, directed by Karen Oganesyan, Rezo Gigineishvili, and Roman Prygunov

·         Salam Maskva – “Salaam to Moscow,” a television serial about a Caucasian who goes to work for the Moscow police and has to deal with his own people and others, released in 2016, directed by Pavel Bardin

·         More, Gory, Kermazit – “The Sea, the Mountains and Clay,” a serial about the lives of a group of neighbors in Sochi, including Old Believers, Armenians, Circassians and Greeks who are suddenly confronted by the changes that having the Olympics there brings, released in 2014, directed by Tigran Keosayan

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