Russia contemplates a film about war against the U.S.

Columns
Russia In Review

A scandal is gaining momentum in Russia over the recently announced film project Ours, which tells the story of the invasion of the U.S. Army into the territory of Russia, and the subsequent guerrilla struggle of a group of teenagers in the occupied territories. The plot of the film has been presented by the Russian company Central Partnership to the country’s Culture Ministry. The main antagonists in the film would be U.S. Marines, which according to the initial plans of the producers would be played by Hollywood actors.

Analysts say that the filmmakers would like to tap into the patriotic and in some part anti-American feelings of Russian citizens, which grew last year with the Ukraine conflict and subsequent U.S. sanctions. However, representatives of the Russian Cinema Fund refused to participate in the financing of the film, claiming that it seems "provocative and even socially dangerous.”

"Such a film could detonate a third world war, it is a very dangerous path," said a member of the advisory board of the Cinema Fund, CEO of Russia’s TNT channel Igor Mishin. Also in experts’ opinion, this project may cause an increase in extremism among Russian youth, evidenced by the fact that the development of the film has been supported by the country’s nationalistic movements via the social network. However, representatives of Central Partnership argue that "Americans also make films about war with the Russians.”

"The Americans shoot a lot of movies about how Russia attacks the U.S.—and everything is OK. Besides, our film it is not about war with the U.S., but about a war against a military junta, the bad guys," said a company representative. According to him, there is nothing provocative in the plot. But the fate of the movie remains unclear–there are rumors that the writers have already decided to alter the script, and the war will be not against the U.S. but against an unnamed enemy.

Russian Space Drama to Screen in 3D

Russian director Yuri Bykov announced a new Russian space drama, First Time, based on the true story of Russian cosmonaut Alexei Leonov. The cosmonaut will be played by the well-known Russian actor Yevgeny Mironov, and famed filmmaker Timur Bekmambetov has been announced as the producer.

The film will be dedicated to the 50th anniversary of Leonov’s historic mission, which was celebrated this year on March 18. It is expected that the movie will be released in 2016. The scenario depicts the flight of Voskhod-2, which at one point was on the verge of catastrophe, as the first human in open space narrowly escaped death.

"Already in the eighth minute [in open space], I felt that the phalanx of my fingers went out of my gloves, while my feet were dangling freely in my boots. That meant that the deformation of the exposure suit had begun," Leonov recalled. To return to the ship, Leonov had to pull up a five-meter tether in the inflexible gloves. But even doing that, he could not enter the gateway to the ship in the inflated exposure suit. Contrary to all instructions, risking his life, the astronaut released the pressure in the suit.

Producers feel the film will be interesting not only for Russians, but also for the viewers around the world, as this event was important not only for the space program of the Soviet Union, but for all space exploration. Moreover, the story has long been classified; few people knew how close Alexei Leonov was to death on this mission.

Economic Crisis Impacts Epic Viking Project

The Russian movie Viking, which its writers have called a Russian analogue of the hit HBO series “Game of Thrones,” will be shot with a smaller budget, without Hollywood actors, and with less massive battle scenes than recent statements by the producers indicated. Russian pundits say that this reveals that the Russian film industry is feeling pressure from the current economic crisis in the country.

Reports in recent months say that the Russian cinema industry in 2015 may receive 25 to 40% fewer investments than in 2014. As a result, a large number of already announced projects may be frozen, while spending on others may be substantially cut. Initially it was planned that Viking would have a budget of RUB 900 million (US$30 million, based on the exchange rate as of the middle of 2014), which would have allowed producers to include large-scale scenes of battles and invite some foreign actors. However, the devaluation of the Russian ruble decreased the film’s budget to only US$12 million, and it is likely that it will be further cut to about US$6 to $8 million.

The film tells the story of Russian Prince Vladimir, who was claimed to be a descendant of the Vikings. His clan headed ancient Russia at the end of the first millennium A.D. He asserted his power in a long, bloody war, but his greatest fame came as the man who drew ancient Russia from paganism to Christianity.

The authors of the movie have repeatedly asserted that the film would have the same style and atmosphere as "Game of Thrones.”