Russia Bans ‘Child 44’ for Portraying Soviets as a ‘Bloody Mass of Orcs and Ghouls’

Child 44

CANNES — Russia has banned Hollywood thriller “Child 44,” which was produced by Ridley Scott and stars Tom Hardy, for allegedly “distorting historical facts” about the Soviet Union and presenting Russia as a place akin to Mordor.

Culture minister Vladimir Medinsky said the movie, which was due to be released on Friday, portrayed Soviet citizens as “physical and moral subhumans, a bloody mass of orcs and ghouls.” Medinsky said the film makes Russia out to be “not a country but Mordor.”

The release’s proximity to the 70th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany on May 9 is a major factor in the decision. At least 27 million Soviet soldiers and civilians died in World War II, which is known in Russia as the Great Patriotic War.

“This is how our country — the same one that was victorious in the Great War, became a world leader and put the first man in space — is being portrayed,” Medinsky wrote in a statement.

He said Russians should not succumb to the West’s negative portrayal of Russian history. “It is time to finally form our own idea about ourselves as the heirs of a great, unique Russian civilization,” he wrote. “Without that, they will crush us.”

Medinsky made it clear that the film would not be allowed to be shown at any time. “Movies like this shouldn’t be released in our country’s cinemas, earning money from filmgoers, not on the 70th anniversary of the victory or at any time,” he stated.

“Child 44” is a paranoia-filled Cold War era thriller, which follows an investigation by a Soviet detective into a series of child murders. Variety‘s reviewer comments: “Part serial-killer thriller, part old-school anti-Soviet propaganda, ‘Child 44’ plays like a curious relic of an earlier Cold War mindset.” (Read the review here.)

Officially the film’s release was “withdrawn” by its distributor Central Partnership. It had made changes to the film but these had failed to satisfy the ministry.

Central Partnership chief executive Pavel Stepanov said in a statement: “We believe it is important that in the future there be more state control over films with significant social content.”

Central Partnership is, in effect, government controlled. It is owned by Gazprom-Media, which is part of the government-owned energy giant Gazprom. Gazprom-Media owns large swathes of the Russian media landscape, including TV networks NTV and TNT. Given that, any hope that Central Partnership will appeal against the decision to ban the film in any meaningful way is misplaced.

Central Partnership’s decision has led to fears that self-censorship will become more evident in Russia, with distributors avoiding films that could attract the government’s ire.

Alexander Rodnyansky, who produced Oscar nominee “Leviathan,” told the RBC news agency: “It’s clear that now, if (a film) is about history, it has to correspond to some system of coordinates.”

He added: “Now the self-censorship will begin: Many people will start being afraid to buy and distribute films here.”

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 11

Leave a Reply

11 Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Yeah right, it was only milk and honey in Soviet Russia. Banning the movie only reinforces the message of the movie, denying the wrongdoing and, therefore, making it go away. It’s 2015 and still censorship it’s a common measure used like we’re livind decades ago. Unfortunately, time goes by but some mentalities remain behind. It’s just a movie, nothing more. I guess all the russian propaganda movies were OK, but a movie depicting reality (maybe embellished because, hello, it’s a movie) it’s not OK? In other words, die, freedom of speech, welcome censorship, exactly what they say movie it’s wrong about.

  2. Conser Pov says:

    This movie is nothing but a recycled collection of the foulest Nazi propaganda cliches about Russian “untermensch”, two hours of disgusting racist slur.

    People who question why this piece of trash got treated as such are, necessarily, either extremely ignorant or completely morally bankrupt.

  3. Banning films doesnt make it less like Mordor….

  4. M. F. Sibley says:

    Well, I guess the truth hurts.

  5. Adam says:

    Yeah sure and just ignore the atrocities committed by the Stalinist regime which had its worst apex during the Great Purge from 1936-1938.

  6. Bs says:

    well done culture secretary for making Russia look like North Korea. As if your homophobic, racist and sexist views weren’t enough you actually want to censor films.

    God the reviews for this film would have been enough to censor it for you hahaha. Also make me laugh how they seem to forget that they fought for the Germans in both WW to begin with and changed sides later. Whose changing history now huh hahaha.

    Anyone who watches a historical film and claims its fact is a fool. They are all fabricated and only amplify 5% of the truth everyone knows that. And a film like this, as a moviegoer I had no interest in it.

    I know what, we’ll make a deal, the west will make films about nice soviets with great up lifting personalities, and you tell us the truth about the passenger plane that was shot down in in the Ukraine…

    I have no sympathy for your country or others like it, only for its people.

    • Dan Monroe says:

      What is so funny is the thought that the ‘greatest country in the world’ is so iron clad to have not to have committed atrocities in the past. And that goes without saying all the atrocities that are being committed now. In a country where people have the freedom of speech and the lawful right to protest but prefer to wander like sheep as they give power to the warmongers who rule the government.
      Yes, Russia is tarnished but it is best to clean up our own backyard before we judge another.

      • Dan Monroe says:

        “Er, Dan? We don’t censor films that expose our ugly past. Just a little hint.”

        That’s a joke!
        Those films never get made and if they do, never distributed.
        Interesting thing is in China, you listen to the news and you know its all propaganda
        but in America, people follow and believe in the media thinking its a free country.
        You sort of have to wake up, stop watching reality tv with the notion that its real!

      • jonahfalcon says:

        Er, Dan? We don’t censor films that expose our ugly past. Just a little hint.

      • Adam says:

        All countries have skeletons in their closets but some much, much more than others.

More Film News from Variety

Loading