Ukraine lays down law of the ‘Land’

Pic's cannibilism may remind some of 1993 Holodomor

Ukraine’s Culture Ministry has banned the local release of George A. Romero‘s “Land of the Dead,” citing cultural sensitivities.

The pic’s would-be local distrib could be subject to criminal prosecution if it releases the film, and the move spotlights again the tensions over state intereference in the media.

Pic is billed as the “ultimate zombie masterpiece,” but zombies clearly are not to the taste of legislators in Kiev, even given the more liberal climate since Viktor Yushchenko took power last year.

The Culture Ministry’s expert commission says “Land of the Dead” is “not just another zombie film,” and that its graphic depictions of cannibalism could be too close to living memory for some Ukrainians.

“The memory of the Holodomor (the famine that killed millions in the country and sparked episodes of cannibalism) of 1933 is still fresh in our society,” commission member Maksym Rostotsky told local press.

“A movie with scenes of people being eaten alive should not be given the go-ahead,” said Rostotsky, who also heads the watchdog group TV Viewers’ Assn. of Ukrainian Parents.

Back in Russia, it’s a very different story.

“Land of the Dead” went out there in August via UIP on 90 prints, earning more than $1 million in 18 days.

Whatever else the Kremlin may be censoring, so far zombies appear to be safe.