31 January 2015

Is NZ becoming like Russia?

The highly acclaimed (in the west) movie Leviathan depicts life in a Russian village as immoral, brutal, corrupt and despairing. It is nonetheless a beautifully realised movie. I highly recommend it.
The negative and bullying reaction to the movie from prominent figures in Russia is unfortunate, of course, but it does ironically reinforce the very issue that the movie successfully depicts. Because it drags in both the Orthodox Church and the State, Leviathan has been described by one critic as a "filthy libel against the Russian church and the Russian state." It has been described as "evil" and as having no aesthetic merit. Because of Russian law, the swearing in it now has to be censored for Russian audiences (who I'm sure never use such words, ever.)
According to the Guardian, the Russian culture ministry was 'considering a ban on any films that “defame the national culture,” threaten the country’s unity or “undermine the foundations of constitutional order”.'
The movie did receive some state funding, moreover. That fact, along with the negative responses from authorities, reminds me of the way in which state apparatchiks and National sycophants in NZ were so swift and so nasty in reacting against comments made recently by Eleanor Catton about NZ being led by profit-hungry, anti-intellectual neoliberals etc. Even the Taxpayers' Union had to get in on the act. The resemblance with Russia is too close for comfort.
The only problem I have with Eleanor's comments is that she should have used the term "neo-authoritarian" rather than "neo-liberal".


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