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Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Sunday Cinema

Well now here's something. Russia features very prominently at this years Oscars. Though perhaps not in the way the dictator Vladimir Putin would wish.

A Russian film called "12" is nominated for an Academy Award as best foreign-language film this year.

Four very interesting facts.

First, this "Russian" film is actually a remake. Of an American film. Called "12 Angry Men" which starred Henry Fonda.

Second, the film explores the horror of Russian racism against Chechens.

Third, the competition for this film comes from . . . wait for it . . . a Polish film called "Katyn." It's about the cold-blooded mass-murder of Polish officers during World War II by Russians.

And fourth, it seems the Academy has predilection for the Russian film's director, Nikita Mikhalkov, since he has been nominated before, winning for a film illustrating the horrors of the rule of Josef Stalin.

Ouch. Dictatorship, racism, mass murder and America all associated with Russia in front of a worldwide TV audience. Not exactly a major coup for the Putin regime, now is it? Doubly painful for Putin must be the fact that it's pretty hard to argue Americans are ignorant anti-Russians if they are nominated Russian films for awards, now isn't it?

Incidentally, Russia also has a nomination in the category Best Short Animated Film for something called "My Love" by director Aleksandr Petrov. If anybody knows anything about this obscure item, we'd love to hear about it.


Anonymous said...

Katyn was a cold-bloooded mass murder of Polish officers done by the Germans: German cartridge cases and even a broken Walther pistol were found in the grave and the victims' hands were tied with German paper rope. After Germany's defeat at Stalingrad the nazi Propaganda Ministry - surprize! surprize! - "discovered" the mass murder site and blamed the Soviets for it in an attempt to split the Allies. Unfortunately, this is by no means the only example of the media of the "democratic West" taking a leaf from Dr. Goebbels' book.

Tim said...

Of course, which is why the Russians apologized to the Poles thereafter. Perfectly sensible.

Actually, something great is this director - a Russian, but one not afraid to confront his country's dark past, and call it the horror that it was.

Anonymous said...

before you exalt mikhalkov as anti-putin hero, remember he did sign letter begging putin to stay on for 3rd term. he also did make putin watch his film all the way through! it's quite paradoxical.

La Russophobe said...

It was not our intention to praise Mikhailkov, only to point out that this nomination can only serve to bring more publicity to his prior win and his film attacking Stalin, something Putin no doubt does not desire.

Anonymous said...

It were not Russians who apologized, but Yeltsin.. After downing a couple of bottles of vodka, he might apologize for the Massacre of the Innocents as well. :(

As to Nikita Mikhalkov, I value him for showing our country's past thoroughly, without ommitting either its dark sides or bright ones.

Artfldgr said...

Sorry Anonymous, Gorbachev admitted differently and turned over the paper work. your info is the old old story trying to get out of it.

Following the war, at the Nuremberg war crime tribunals, the issue of Katyn was originally included on the list of crimes attributed to the Nazis. But it was later dropped, apparently out of concern that any revelations about the massacre would embarrass the Soviets.

It wasn't until 1990 that Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev admitted Soviet involvement in the Katyn forest massacre. Two years later, the Russian government handed over to Polish President Lech Walesa previously secret documents showing that Soviet leader Joseph Stalin had directly ordered the killing of the Polish army officers.

Most of the victims in Katyn forest were Polish army reservists -- lawyers, doctors, scientists and businessmen -- who were called up to active service following the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939. But instead of fighting the Germans, about 15,000 Polish officers found themselves prisoners of the Red Army, which had occupied eastern Poland under the terms of a secret Moscow-Berlin treaty.

In the spring of 1940, about 4,500 of these officers were taken by their Soviet captors to the Katyn forest. Most were then gagged, bound, shot once in the head and buried on the spot. The other Polish POWs were taken to other locations, where many of them were also executed. The mass liquidation killed off much of Poland's intelligentsia and facilitated the Soviet takeover of the nation.

Anonymous said...

Sorry artfldgr, but I would rather believe the great surgeon Burdenko who headed the 1943 Soviet investigation committee than Dr. Goebbels or Gorby. As to the "secret documents" handed over by the latter to Walesa, they were exposed as very very crude fakes - see, e.g., Y.Mukhin's Katyn Detective.

Anonymous said...

Говнюк Ваш Мухин, коллега. It would be strange, if Dzhugashvili couldn't kill people, whom he hated for his personal humiliation in 1920 (and whom would have become his active enemies at the first chanse), when Poles made dead dozens of thousands of Soviet prisoners in 1920. Post-revolutionary Poland had its own fault in the Bolshevist capture of Russia, and it wasn't a state respecting civil rights, but in any case it's an absurd to reject 'the wonderful Georgian' wasn't more humane than his Polish foes.