"Sex, violance and terrorism must be forbidden" -
... - V. Putin.
>Name some more Americans known to Russians. Do the Russians have favorites?
Mr. Steissd made an excellent view. Although I didn't try to remember any dead Americans. Some of American classic writers were widely published by the Soviets due to their leftist views. There were Herbert Wales, Theodor Driser, Jack London and Ernest Hamingway. The only exception - widely published American non-leftist writer - was Mark Twen, really brilliant and very famous in Russia writer, I don't know why he wasn't prohibited.
> ... what about Russian movies?
Now the Russian cinema is divided into 2 mainstreams: government sponsored official moviemakers - so called the Union of Cinematographists, and a couple of really talented producers who can still work alone.
As you can guess the first part of producers make a lot of "patriotic", talentless, expensive slopwork. For instance - Nikita Mikhalkov's (the chied of the Union, his father is famous as the author of the three versions of Russian anthem - Stalin's, Brezhnev's and Putin's updates - with the same music) movie Siberian Barber. It was a super-expensive project (with a probable cost about several hundreds of millions $ although the real number will never be published) sponsored by the government and intended to bring to the Americans ideas about "great Russian soul". The result was lower than any worst predictions. The film was fullfilled by stupid foreign stereotypes - vodka, caviar, matryoshka, balalayka and so on. Despite being called "the most patriotic film of the century" it was voiced in English by some American superstars which made the movie more expensive but not better (Russians don't understand American English very well
). So the native edition was voiced by Nikita Mikhalkov himself who has not a very pleasant diction. Together with a boring plot it made the movie absolutely impossible to see. I tried to do it 2 times but wasn't successfull. All efforts to return at least a little part of spent budget money totally failed. The Americans refused to buy this sh*t and were totally right of course. The only foreign countries that bought the film were Belorussia and Yugoslavia. Miloshevic once said that he had seen this movie 18 times! But of course these countries couldn't pay anything. The authorities attempted to sell the film in the internal market - but it was useless too. Most people can't afford to buy very expensive tickets. At last Mikhalkov declared: "it will be my gift to all the Russians, see it on TV free". The film was demonstrated for several times but didn't attract a lot of attention. The question who must response for the lost budget money remained unanswered.
This is a cartoon made of a screenshot from this film
The most noticeable independent producer is Alexander Rogozhkin. He has managed to do impossible in Russia - to make movie without any national budget money. His films Especialities of the National Hunt 1,2,3 became super popular people comedies, real bestsellers despite being very cheap. Just a little detail: there were no stars in his first film, EVERY his actor was a debutant, but almost everyone of them immediately became superstar just after the films were produced, for eample such as Buldakov and Bychkov. The last Rogozhkin's film Cuckoo is a rather tragical story about two deserters from the Soviet and Finnish Armies who were saved by a Finnish woman in 1944 - a very good movie I can recommend to see if it appears in the West. Cuckoo was cancelled to be introduced to Oscar by a personal Mikhalkov order because as he said: "the Americans will not understand it" - what great specialist of the Americans' opinion
>Are there any Russian movies on TV, and if so, what kind? What about films like Brat (the Russian Pulp Fiction, kinda), I heard that was popular - did it create at least a "popular" Russian movie genre, with fast-moving witty gangster movies and the like, or is it really all import people watch?
Balabanov's Brat (brother, also close to a form of addressing among Russian gangsters: "bratan", "bratok"; many gangsters are always called "bratva") is an example of these films for New Russians - where a "good" ethnic Russian killer kills "bad" ethnic Caucasian killers (what I've already said a lot of about). The most surprising for me was the second film - Brat 2 - where Bodrov (the main hero) arrives to New York and kills American Negros expressing a lot of racict jokes in this process. I was surprising because as I know Negros has never been blaimed by the Communists, furthermore they used to be our allies in the "class struggle" - what was their guilt to Balabanov that is still a mystery for me. Brat 3 (also known as War) returns to the usual topic, there Bodrov comes in Chechnya as a soldier - guess who are main enemies now. Fortunately last summer comrade Bodrov was buried by a landslide in the mountains of Ingushetia when he had made too much pyrotechnical effects for his new "patriotic movie"
>And what aboutv Indian films,
They were popular during the Communist period until 1991. But then thankfully they have totally dissappeared from the screens.
>And is everybody still compulsively watching "The rich cry, too"?
As I've already mentioned now all foreign soap-operas are successfully replaced by endless criminal traffic movies, soap-operas for New Russians, with the main idea: "a thief is rich, a ment (militiaman) is bitchy, a wife is faithless, a Jewish is ... (some impolite word)" (in Russian it's a rhyme). Now this dirt is propaganded as "native high-quality films" that will cause the growth of patriotism. I'm not sure about the last - IMHO in this case more patriotic films are Santa-Barbara or Bewerly Hills some number. Only such dialogs from Bewerly like: "Hm? - Hmmm... - Oh? - Hm, hm - Uh! - Hm,hm,hm.." will make anyone happy that he lives outside America
. Soon after The Rich had cried enough they were replaced by Santa-Barbara and other American made soap-operas but in the middle 90s the era of "native traffic films" started. Now every TV top-manager regularly declares smth like: "this year we started other 30 criminal traffic films".
Recently there was a scandal when several teenagers having watched a new gangster film Brigade (demonstrated by the main state channel) organised an own gang, picked up several wartime rifles and began killing ethnic Caucausians in their town, as they explained later, to help the Militia to keep order. Before these scums were arrested they had killed two total families including several children. There were a few protests in medias to forbid this film. But just a week ago I noticed it on 3 other non-governmental channels (!) while the state channel is promising to show it's new parts in the nearest future. That's an example how our dear comrades are worried about public opinion.
>Do you fear getting in trouble?
Sometimes I get threats and blames to my mailbox, smth like: "you will be the first pig we'll kill when we get to the power" (once I even had to change my e-mail) but I am not worried too much. Anyway I have already expressed enough to be checked by the FSB ages ago (a good old joke: a guard at a prison-camp calls: "Ivanov" - "I am" - "Petrov" - "I am" - "Sidorov"... "Sidorov!" ... "Sidorov!!!" - "I am" - "Sidorov, you should have been silent earlier"). Really I don't think I may have problems because of my postings to Internet - I can't imagine how will the FSB outwork such giant amount of information that is transferred through the nets everyday.
>the freedom of speech flourishes in the Russian Federation, and people are not being arrested for criticism toward authorities. They were before 1905 and in 1918-91, but not now.
As I remember there was nobody officially arrested for criticism in 1918-1991 also but it didn't mean that we had the liberty of speech in these years. Now the most famous reporters imprisoned for their bad words about the authorities are: Babitsky (Radio Liberty, sentenced but paroled soon), Titov (old NTV, still in prison), Pas'ko (Krasnaya Zvezda, had spent 4 years in a camp before being paroled). If we say about arrested for a couple of days but not transffered to the court - it happened with almost every independent reporter working at politically unpleasant subjects (the Chechen War for example but not only). For example once the FSB arrested and deported a whole group of French TV reporters when they attemted to shoot the building in Ryazan' that allegedly was going to be blown up in 1999. But generally speaking there are not too many such cases - rather more commonly a journalist is found with a bullet in his head off his home. The most famous example is Kholodov - he was blown up by Septznaz officers for his bad words toward Defence Minister.
At last some humor: a famous observer Parfyonov was fired this weekend for his jokes about Dobby and Putin
. This is Parfyonov's photo: