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Russia: Bloggers’ Mockery of Film Poster Upsets Famous Director

A poster to an upcoming movie on the World War II by an internationally recognized Russian director Nikita Mikhalkov [RUS] is monumental, tense and grim as many Russian movies on one of the most tragic events of the modern history. It also became funny, descriptive and nearly offensive after numerous manipulations by many bloggers eager to express their creativity online and mock the director who, according to a lot of online comments, is blinded by his arrogance.

The poster in question has advertised an upcoming movie of Mikhlakov “Burnt by the Sun 2″ (the movie trailer is here) where the director depicts the monumental struggle and suffering of people in the Soviet Union during the World War II. The movie is thought as a sequel to the Oscar-winning “Burnt by the Sun” released in 1994 that brought an international fame to Mikhalkov. “Burnt by the Sun 2″ poster depicts the director Mikhalkov, who also plays a leading role in the movie, as a Soviet soldier in the middle of a battle. The poster reads “The Great Movie About the Great War. Burnt by the Sun 2. Upcoming. Movie by Nikita Mikhalkov.”

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The creative process started on one of the most popular blogs of RuNet. Artemy Lebedev (LJ user tema), a controversial blogger and art designer, uploaded the poster on his blog and encouraged his numerous readers to express their limitless creativity changing the original work of art into something new. The results flooded tema‘s blog within the matter of hours. One can certainly appreciate the passion with which Russian blogger approached the task. They renamed the movie into “Nikita,” drew Mikhalkov as Terminator, depicted him as Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, transformed him into Robocop, made fun of his previous role as a Russian gangster, added flashy glasses and arty skulls, whitened and enlarged his teeth… The results of the process [RUS] can be viewed on tema‘s blog.

The Internet users seemed to enjoy mocking the director who allegedly has a big ego. LJ user autoglaz wrote [RUS]:

Назвать еще не вышедший фильм, который никто не видел “Великий фильм” – это уже не гордыня, а… Даже слова не подберу.

To call the upcoming move that no one has seen yet “The Great Movie” is not only pride, but… I cannot even find a word for it.

But Mikhalkov did not appreciate the creative side of Internet users and threatened to sue the bloggers [RUS] who mocked the new movie. This decision did not increase the popularity of Mikhalkov among bloggers.

LJ user artemdragunov, for example, jokingly replied to the threat on his blog [RUS] in the style of Soviet art reviews accusing authors, directors and artists of plotting against communism:

Я Артём Драгунов, гражданин России и Германии, проживающий в городе Штуттгарт, заявляю, что в случае если Михалков Никита Сергеевич подаст в суд на блогеров за фотожабы на его плакат будущего фильма, то я подам встречный иск по поводу оскорбления Михалковым памяти ветеранов войны с фашизмом. На его плакате изображено лоснящееся от жира лицо, с шикарной золотой печаткой на пальце и должное по видимому изображать доблестного воина Советской Красной Армии в первый год войны, но самое злобное – в руках у советского воина фашистский МП38 -40( экспертное приложение будет дослано в суд).

Поэтому нет никакой ясности – советский ли воин изображён на плакате или предатель Родины, власовец или бандеровец.

Так как господин Михалков известен в миру как сторонник монархии и белого движения, у меня нет сомнений по поводу того, что на плакате фильма Утомлённые солнцем 2 – под видом советского воина изображён предатель и враг советской страны и коммунизма.

I, Artem Dragunov, the citizen of Russia and Germany who lives in Stuttgart, declare that if Nikita Sergeevich Mikhalkov sues bloggers for Photoshop contest involving the poster of his upcoming movie, I will sue Mikhalkov for offending the memory of the veterans of the war with fascism. His poster depicts a fat face with expensive golden ring on a finger and is apparently designed to represent a valiant soldier of Soviet Red Army in the first year of the war. But the most upsetting thing is that the Soviet soldier holds the fascist MP38-40 [gun] (expert testimony will be later sent to the court).That is why it is unclear if the poster depicts a Soviet soldier or the traitor of the motherland […]Since Mr. Mikhalkov is know in the world as a supporter of the monarchy and the White Movement [military anti-Bolsheviks forces in Russia – V.I], I have no doubt that under the veil of a Soviet soldier, the poster for “Burnt by the Sun 2″ depicts a traitor and enemy of the Soviet country and communism.

Another blogger leonsija defended [RUS] Mikhalkov and accused tema of “playing with the sacred”:

Я не ярый поклонник самого Никиты Сергеевича, и часто не приемлю его человеческих поступков, но в данном случае желаю ему победы. Пора все же поставить на место того, кто находит поводы для издевательств на темы, которых касаться грязными руками ни при каких обстоятельствах нельзя. Есть конструктивная критика, оценка художественных качеств фильма, а есть подлость, игра на святом. Забавного, сатирического и смешного в этом мало… Стеб на тему войны все же не уместен, тем более перед годовщиной Победы.

I am not a fierce supporter of Nikita Sergeevich and I often despise his behavior but I wish him victory in this case. It is time to punish someone  who seeks reasons to mock the topics that no one can touch with dirty hands under any circumstances. There are constructive criticism, evaluation of artistic qualities of movies and there are meanness and playing with the sacred. There is little of funny, satirical and entertaining here…  Mockery of the topic of war is out of place, especially before the the anniversary of the victory.

But the controversy around the mockery led some to believe that all this is nothing more than just a promotion of the movie. Blogger burmatoff noted [RUS]:

Никита Сергеич создает ажиотаж. Всем расслабиться и получать удовольствие. Билеты в кассах, ага.

Nikita Sergeevich creates a buzz. Everyone relax and enjoy. Tickets are available in box offices.

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