Kremlin denies role in censoring Russian movies

Columns
Russia In Review

The Russian government is against any censorship in the movie industry, but feels free to demand certain things from films produced with the participation of state funds, stated Dmitry Peskov, press secretary of Russian President Vladimir Putin, on Oct. 25, in response to claims of several country’s artists who said censorship in the country is getting worse.

That same day, at the VII Congress of the Russian Theatrical Artists Union, famed actor Konstantin Raikin suggested that under the guise of the fight for morality and with the use of words like “patriotism” and “homeland,” some public organizations are pressuring both theatre and cinema, trying to introduce censorship.

“Russian society is under risk of returning to the times of Stalin’s orders and strongest censorship, the abolition of which in the post-Soviet period was the greatest event of the secular value,” Raikin declared.

According to Raikin, there are groups of people who are shutting down undesirable projects, while authorities are distancing themselves from the issue in a strange manner. Raikin is supported by numerous Russian artists. One of them, Alexandr Feoktistov, suggested that the issue Raikin has raised is obvious, adding that “it hangs in the air and everybody feels it.”

Raikin’s comments have been negatively perceived by some public figures. In particular, Alexander Zaldostanov, leader of the largest Russian biker club, Night Wolves, who is known to be a personal friend of some top country officials, suggested these statements are an attack on the freedom of Russians.

“The devil always tempts with freedom. And under the guise of freedom, these Raikins want to turn the country into the gutter through which sewage would flow,” Zaldostanov opined. He promised to do everything to protect Russians from “American democracy, despite their repression of the freedom that they spread around the world.”

Porn Actress to Star in Russian Art-house Movie

Russian independent studio Homunculus Film plans to shoot an art-house movie named The Golem and invited European porn actress Lola Taylor to play one of the main roles. Roman Dmitriev, one of the project’s co-producers, said the actress will star in the film for free, suggesting that she’s waiving a fee because she admires past projects of the studio, in particular the recent movie Homunculus. “Lola Taylor apparently watched Homunculus and agreed to star in our film for free to support independent Russian cinema,” he stated.

Most details of the plot remain undisclosed, but it is known that the film concerns a deep friendship between factory workers that is severely tested, ultimately leading to adultery and spiritual torment.

In 2015, Taylor was nominated for an AVN Award in the Best Foreign Actress category. She is of Russian origin and also well-known in Russia for her web blog, where she describes nuances of her occupation.

It is worth noting that art-house films have quite a controversial perception in Russia. In past years they have been associated with the genre of gallows humor, deriding various aspects of Russia’s social life. As a result, art-house fare is viewed as a kind of protest movement, not welcomed by most film directors and actors. Cinema experts in general feel it is hard to say how a new project with a porn actress in the main role will be perceived in a rather conservative Russian society.