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What's going on with Russia lately? During the Sochi Olympics, they earned rightful heat for their anti-gay beliefs. But as it turns out, that might be part of an even-greater effort to restrict western influence on their country. And now, that effort is reaching into films: despite 70% of their economy coming from American movies, they're going to start minding their language.
THR reveals that Russia has actually banned foul language from all films. Repeat: they have banned all foul language. That means no Anthony Hopkins in Nixon yelling "Cocksucker!" That means no John Goodman in The Big Lebowski yelling, "This is what happens when you fuck a stranger in the ass!" That means no Edi Gathegi saying Jason Statham should try "that Haitian shit" in Crank. And that means no Samuel L. Jackson saying, "English, motherfucker, do you speak it?" in Pulp Fiction. Heck, that basically means no more Samuel L. Jackson in Russia. And it definitely means you aren't going to get any Seth Rogen movies movies in the motherland.
It's not clear as to what Russia will do with movies that already use foul language, whether they will be bleeping the movies or banning them outright. But future films are on notice: it will be forbidden to exhibit films with any bad language. It seems to put the kibosh on Leviathan, a critically-acclaimed Russian film that was a hit at Cannes earlier this year, but might not even reach our shores. Director Andrey Zvyagintseva has already vowed he's not going to edit the film, so such is the case for Leviathan, which might end up being a banned film. Here's a clip from the film below.
The understanding from the Russian government is that they're interested in promoting positive representations of Russians and Russian pride, particularly focusing on characterizations of Russians as "lazy drunks." And that's a reasonable aim: after all, how many times can we see Peter Stormare smarm his way through various Russian bad guys and jerks? Of course, "positive representation" could mean something very different to those in Russia's government. And it could very well involve the subjugation of subversive political elements, the kind that would keep Russian films from finding international audiences. Of course, this isolationism will probably increase America's fondness for creating Russian characters who are "lazy drunks", since they no longer have a Russian audience to honor.