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Film critics see no reasons to ban The Death of Stalin in Russia

January 26, 15:46 UTC+3 MOSCOW

According to Anton Dolin, banning a film that does not violate any laws is "nothing but censorship"

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MOSCOW, January 26. /TASS/. A number of prominent Russian film critics told TASS they see no objective reasons to ban The Death of Stalin, a dark comedy, in the country’s movie theaters.

"I think there are no reasons not to show this film in movie theaters. It’s a historical grotesque comedy made in an interesting, original and talented manner. But it may insult those for whom the Stalin era is still alive in the present, not in the past," film critic Kirill Razlogov said.

According to him, banning The Death of Stalin is as wrong as banning The Three Musketeers for distorting the character of French King Louis XIII.

"The grotesque comedy genre was banned in the Soviet Union …but is popular worldwide. The movie was shown at festivals and released in many countries," Razlogov said.

He added that earlier no one claimed that The Death of Stalin somehow "insults Russia."

"It may insult those who think they still live in the 1950s but it’s been a long time and we can laugh at things which seemed tragic and dramatic," the critic said.

His colleague Anton Dolin said that the film does not violate any laws and, therefore, should not be banned.

"Any film can be liked or disliked, cause outrage or insult someone, and this is normal for the arts," Dolin told TASS.

"Banning a motion picture that does not formally violate any laws but disgusts some group of people is nothing but censorship. And censorship is prohibited in this country," he emphasized.

"This is a comedy and all historical characters are shown in a grotesque manner. Moreover, the film is based on comics and their characters do not look like real people. I feel sorry for the descendants of these historical characters but even if their feelings are hurt, the film should not be banned," Dolin noted.

Critic Andrei Plakhov said The Death of Stalin does not aim to insult Russia or its nationals.

"On the contrary, common people, the victims of Stalin’s regime, are shown with sympathy. Director Armando Iannucci is known as a critic of any totalitarian trends, even in British and American societies. Therefore, Russia is not one of his special targets," Plakhov said.

"I saw The Death of Stalin at a film festival in Turin where the movie received his professional appraisals and a FIPRESCI award. I consider it a talented sample of political satire," he added.

The critic also said that the withdrawal of the film’s license contradicts Russian legislation and market economy principles.

The Russian Cultural Ministry decided to withdraw the distribution certificate for the British-French political satire film The Death of Stalin on Tuesday after an appeal by Sergei Khrushchev, the son of former Soviet leader who complained that the movie offers a "distorted and humiliating" representation of the country’s history.

He was supported by Maria Zhukova, the daughter of Hero of the Soviet Union, Marshal Georgy Zhukov.

The Death of Stalin is based on a graphic novel by Fabien Nury and Thierry Robin. The Russian release of the picture, which premiered worldwide in September 2017, was scheduled for January 25. The movie is centered on the pursuit of power in the USSR following the death of Joseph Stalin in 1953. The film stars Steve Buscemi, Jason Isaacs and Olga Kurilenko to name a few.

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