Daniel Espinosa’s "Child 44" opened Friday in Russia and has now been slammed by the country. Culture minister Vladimir Medinsky claimed that the film Russia look like "Mordor," and Russian citizens like "physical and moral subhumans, a bloody mass of orcs and ghouls." (Variety reports.)
One major factor in the selection was the film’s release date, which falls close to the 70th anniversary of Russia’s victory over Nazi Germany, May 9. "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 stated.
“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. To be fair, around this time of year (or any year) Russians would rather not remember Chikatilo, a.k.a. the Rostov Ripper, who did things like cut out women’s uteruses and rape children.
Distributor Central Partnership has officially "withdrawn" the film’s release. Its CEO Pavel Stephanov, despite making changes to the film that were unsatisfactory to the ministry, said, “We believe it is important that in the future there be more state control over films with significant social content.”
This isn’t the first incident of censorship involving a film in Russia this year. It came as no surprise when Medinsky and the Russian establishment slammed its "evil" Oscar nominee and Golden Globe winner "Leviathan" back in January. Andrey Zvyagintsev’s tough, theatrical drama reconfigured the Book of Job into a damning indictment of the Putin presidential government, while also yielding more universal themes of humanity, corruption and, yeah, alcoholism. The film ended up in theaters, but with cuts, and cursing dubbed over.
"Child 44" opens stateside Friday.