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I was watching Child 44 on TV the other day, and it struck me as another Hollywood movie based on a Novel. The book is :

Loosely based on the story of the real-life mass murderer Andrei Chikatilo, although the action is set decades before Chikatilo’s killings took place

Source: The Guardian

The keyword here is "Loosely". Now we all know that movies and novels like to twist the real events to make them more appealing to the viewers/readers.

However, Russia instead of seeing it as a simple movie, they banned it and commented it as:

“historically inaccurate”

“ideologically incorrect”

“hellish anti-Soviet trash”


Pavel Stepanov, head of the film’s Russian distributor, told RIA Novosti news agency that he was “unsatisfied” with the film, and called for “more government control over the distribution of films which have a socially important context to them”.

Why was all this fuss about a movie that is based on a novel, which in turn is based on real events? What could be the reason of banning the movie?

In the same manner shouldn't Jack the Ripper and V for Vendetta (one of my favourites) be considered as anti British movies? (to name a few that came to my head)

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    Russia is more touchy than UK when it comes to criticising government. – Gallifreyan Jul 21 '17 at 15:10
  • @Gallifreyan Totally agree to that. Many movies have been banned in other countries for "sensitive reasons". That doesn't answer though the historical part of the question – Jimmy_A Jul 21 '17 at 15:23
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    This is an interesting question, but it really seems like it should be on History. Ultimately this film deals with Soviet Historiography, which is well documented in many fields (in science: Lysenkoism, Lamarck et etc). Russia and Russian politics still suffers from the echoes of so many years (80?) of political policy that denied any reality that differed from idealism. – Yorik Jul 21 '17 at 15:37
  • @D.A I figure this won't be an easy task to be answered here because it isn't so movie related as it is history knowledge related. Maybe in History SE. But I might be wrong. Just saying. – LeonX Jul 21 '17 at 15:38
  • @LeonFreire Well if a mod thinks that this question can be answered in History SE then by all means he can migrate the question – Jimmy_A Jul 21 '17 at 15:40
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There is sometimes a huge gulf between what is actually "historically accurate* and what a governement perceives or wishes to represent as accurate.

This is especially true in what could be perceived as somewhat repressive contries.

The Russian government for almost the entire existence since the Revolution has wished to be perceived in the best possible light and has restricted and attempted to mitigate any actual or perceived criticism of itself or it's administration and legal systems regardless of whether they were valid then or now.

On 15 April 2015, the Russian film distributor Central Partnership announced that the film would be withdrawn from cinemas in Russia, although some media stated that screening of the film was blocked by the Russian Ministry of Culture. The decision was made following the press screening the day before. The Ministry of Culture and the Central Partnership issued a joint press release stating that the screening of the film before the 70th anniversary of the Victory Day was unacceptable.

The Ministry of Culture claimed that it received several questions on the film's contents, primarily concerning "distortion of historical facts, peculiar treatment of events before, during and after the Great Patriotic War and images and characters of Soviet people of that era". Russian minister of culture Vladimir Medinsky welcomed the decision, but stressed that it was made solely by the Central Partnership.

However, in his personal statement Medinsky complained that the film depicts Russians as "physically and morally base sub-humans", and compared the depiction of Soviet Union in the film with J. R. R. Tolkien's Mordor, and wished that such films should be screened neither before the 70th anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War, nor any other time.

Wikipedia

Arguably, since the movie is a fiction and only loosely based on a events it cannot be considered a depiction of actual events but nevertheless, the Russian government sees it as an slight on the character of the Russian governement &/or country &/or it's citizens.

PERCEPTION is something I have mentioned several times and that is key here. It's how the Russian government wishes to be perceived and, apparently, has the necessary will and muscle to enfore it...if one sees the withdrawl of the movie as a "ban".

Just to add....

Comment from @Galliifreyan

...the original book was based loosely on the story of a real serial killer Andrei Chikatilo, and the USSR spent an outrageous amount of resources (including military helicopter patrols and some millions of rubles) to find and capture him. The premise that USSR denied the existence of murders and did not do anything to prevent them may indeed seem a bit offensive in this context.

  • The 70th anniversary deal is the most important part, really. – Gallifreyan Jul 21 '17 at 15:47
  • @Gallifreyan Possibly although I'd just lump that in as another excuse. – Paulie_D Jul 21 '17 at 15:48
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    You may want to note that the original book was based loosely on the story of a real serial killer Andrei Chikatilo, and the USSR spent an outrageous amount of resources (including military helicopter patrols and some millions of rubles) to find and capture him. The premise that USSR denied the existence of murders and did not do anything to prevent them may indeed seem a bit offensive in this context (but I haven't seen the film, so I can't comment on that). – Gallifreyan Jul 21 '17 at 15:55
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    Trying to explain censorship from the outsiders perspective is always tough. Essentially, there is no logical explanation. The reasons they give may have nothing to do with reality. It's just their public justification. – Paulie_D Jul 21 '17 at 16:03
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    Very impressive is your use of measured language to address this question and the underlying issue. Respect. – DukeZhou Jul 21 '17 at 17:09

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