Russia institutes ban on profanity
On July 1, Russia began enforcing a legal ban on the use of so-called “mat”—strong, obscene profanity in Russian and other Slavic languages—in cinema, literature, theatre, music and the media. Russian filmmakers already have faced problems because of this initiative of the government, forced to cut completed movies, including important scenes and lines of dialogue.
It is still unclear in what form Andrei Zvyagintsev’s Leviathan will be released in Russian cinemas. The film was awarded the prize for best screenplay at the Cannes Film Festival, but due to the recent reform it was removed from the opening-night slot at the Moscow International Film Festival.
The famed Russian director has spoken out against this inititative: "We weighed every word, so all vocabulary in the film is appropriate. This is live speech, and it helps us. Emasculating of the language and any restrictions are bad for art. So we must be selective [regarding] this issue.”
Under the new law, some changes will also likely be made to a movie of another well-known Russian filmmaker, Valeria Gai Germanicus: Yes and Yes, which won the directing prize at the Moscow International Film Festival.
There are a lot of films in which characters use mat in nearly every sentence. The directors believe that such films cannot be cut, and will probably be completely banned in the country. Experts predict that without Russian mat, future films will lose a significant share of viewers; in a country where 87% of population uses mat from time to time, such films would seem unrealistic.
Uma Thurman Stars in Russian Short
The famed American actress Uma Thurman is featured in a short film by young Russian writer-director Ivan Petukhov, one of the winners of the “Jameson First Shot” short film competition. The film, entitled "The Gift," tells the story of Miss Anderson, who works at a mall in the gift-wrapping department.
Russian movie fans have expressed a high interest in the film, mostly because of the presence of the Hollywood star among its actors. The heads of the Russian Union of Cinematographers predict that more and more foreigners will be invited to participate in Russian films aimed at commercial success.
At the same time, it is noteworthy that a number of Russian filmmakers are also finding success making films abroad. For example, Russian director Sarik Andreasyan shot American Heist, which has been accepted into the Special Presentations section of the Toronto International Film Festival. The film tells the story of two brothers who want to pull off “the robbery of the century." Shooting took place in the summer of 2013 in New Orleans. The main roles are played by Adrien Brody, Hayden Christensen, Jordana Brewster and Akon.
Kozlovsky Toplines First-Person Thriller
At the end of June, Russian film companies Bazelevs and Robusto completed work on
Hardcore, the first-ever full-length movie thriller in Russia filmed entirely in the first person. The bold experiment features top Russian star Danila Kozlovsky in his first villainous role and South African actor Sharlto Copley (District 9).
In the story, protagonist Henry wakes up in a military research laboratory where the scientists have been creating a human-cyborg hybrid. He knows about himself only the fact that once he was happily married to the beautiful Estelle (Haley Bennett), who has just brought him back to life.
Not having time to sort out his past, Henry is forced to go to war with the villain Akran (Kozlovsky), who kidnaps Estelle. In search of his beloved, Henry destroys everything in its path. The only one not trying to kill him is the mysterious Jimmy (Copley), who has his own issues with Akran.