In reality, very few Russians are criminals who poison the enemies with polonium or dropping them from the balconies of skyscrapers. But Western television and cinema is very far from reality. In the 21st century they are in his paintings rarely depart from the usual stereotype of the angry psychos. When the Russian movie will be good? Like, ever. Too often pop culture imagined them as evil monsters, unforgiving and bloodthirsty Other, which are very different from the effete Westerners.
To the centennial anniversary of the Russian revolution, the West still believes in this horror story, especially in the Russian mafia, which seems obsessed with his quest to instill in us their criminal values. This belief supports the fact that Russia is now led by the demagogue, who formerly served in the KGB and strongly accentuates their masculinity to, say, hunting shirtless, This man, according to news media and participated (or not participated) in hacker attacks on presidential elections in the United States.
Probably, the stereotype of the evil Russian is so popular in pop culture because in Western nightmares he correspond to the image of President Putin, which is replicated in the news. This image of a ruthless bully, obsessed by the desire to undermine democratic values.
Such thoughts occur to the creators of the BBC series “Mcmafia” based on the eponymous book by Misha Glenny. Screenwriter Hossein Amini and directed by James Watkins focused on the history of the Russian crime family, the new head of which is James Norton.
Amini claims that they tried to avoid common Russian stereotypes. “They are usually depicted by a gang of thugs in smart suits. Often forget that Russian culture is incredibly rich, what is the country of Chekhov and Dostoevsky”.
However, during a conversation with Amini and Norton in between filming the latter can not hold and tells what Russian is terrible and harsh. Recently Norton in preparation for the filming of the studied Russian martial art called “System”. His trainer David explained to him the difference between English and Russian character. “In England, you run away when faced with danger, — quotes Norton mentor, mimicking his evil accent. — In Russia, if we see danger, we shake her by the lapels of his fucking hands.” Norton cute giggles. But the point of this story is that even in real life the Russians sometimes play along with the myth of its severity.
We are enjoying the spring sun on the lawns Manding house near Watford, which is all the shooting vosmiseriynogo film became apart of the Russian mafia. Norton plays the Russian-born Alex Godman living in Britain and working as the trader in the investment Fund. His character is caught up in the maelstrom of a family of criminal business. “What is it like to look under the bowler hat and found there the Russian bear,” explains James Watkins. The Director wants to say that under the veneer of British civility and courtesy in the hero’s hiding a terrible Russian psychopath who is willing to rip your throat out if you so look at it.
Right now the Russian bear can be found anywhere, not just under the pot. In many serials to maintain the storyline appear tough with Russian criminal connections, which are usually played by non-Russian actors. In the TV series “Orange is the new black” Galina Reznikov, nicknamed Red, played by Iowa native Kate Mulgrew, ruled with an iron hand by its corner of Litchfield prison, just like Putin the Kremlin. In addition, Mulgrew brings to the role the same severity with which she has endowed her character Kathryn Janeway in “Star trek: Voyager”.
As a Redhead (she’s got that hair color) behind bars? She hit the wife of a local Russian gangster in the chest, and the burst silicone implant. In the end, Red and her husband Dmitry had to compensate for the damage, performing different tasks of mafia. Among other things, they kept the five corpses of victims of the bandit in the freezer, causing the Redhead finally got time for murder. The moral is: to push the wives of gangsters in silicone breast not the best idea.
Even more amazing is how this stereotype is like the audience and the critics, at least, not Russian. For example, on the fourth season of “ray Donovan”, where the bandits come to town to take revenge, one critic wrote: “I love that show Russian culture/mafia style of the cold war. Crime is in their blood!” The character of Leo Schreiber from “La La land” a real asshole, but not so much that American critics said, “Dmitri and his evil entourage”. Beating and took in hostage the Israeli AVI, Dmitri (played by new York native Raymond George. Barry) calls to ray and demands that he returned his cousin. More precisely, he says: “Mr. Donovan, give me my niece or I will kill your Jew.”
This is the problem: in the world of Western film and television of the 21st century Russian rarely go beyond stereotypes. Even on “Arrow” which is a adaptation of a comic book about a playboy millionaire Oliver Quine that secretly supervises, we will learn about that in the biography Oliver is the episode when he was the leader of the Russian mafia. That’s why he knows Russian language. And in the fifth season, we show images from the past: Queen in the company of brutal Russian official named Konstantin Kovar (played by Dolph Lundgren), who looks like Putin, only the chest muscles he’s got more. Lundgren, by the way, had a successful career playing Russian thugs. In the midst of the cold war in 1985, he played in “rocky 4” the Soviet boxer Ivan Drago, who is the American patriot and Sylvester Stallone (the star-spangled shorts) it was necessary to win the symbolic battle that anticipated the collapse of the Soviet Union. Thus, Lundgren became the personification of the Russian defeat in the cold war; after nearly three decades on “Arrow” it does the same thing.
Dolph Lundgren, among other things, a Swede, and not Russian.
So why is Russian still, 30 years after the end of the cold war, continue to be the embodiment of evil on the screens? Amini believes that’s due to their connection with international crime because of what they can under the old standard represented in the form of the ubiquitous villains. “To use the terminology of “Game of thrones”, the Mexican cartels and the Russian mafia is two powerful kingdoms, and that is why the Russian characters are in the center of the story “Mcmafia,” he says. But I really wanted to move away from the standard image of the Russian mafia”. In Western television shows and movies Russian has always been scapegoats, but the main difference between 1980 and today is that then they were political thugs trying to win the West with the help of espionage, and now they are criminal thugs.
Will “Mcmafia” along the way of this stereotype? On the lawn of Manding-Hausa James Norton tells how he hopes his character will remind us of how Russians differ from the image that is considered to be the norm in movies and on television. His Alex, the character with the Anglo-Russian roots, is fascinated by the criminal past of his family and at the same time nourishes him disgusted. In this conflict, which is incredibly attractive for James, this is one of the reasons he agreed to the role. Alex is proud of his Russian roots (“he’s on the bedside table lies a book of Dostoevsky, and he a couple times a week go to workout at the end), but at the same time suffers from it. Will it have Norton to show all these complexities, putting an end to the stereotypes? “I hope that I will be able to break stereotypes for the Russian. Now so much negative propaganda about Russia, which is impossible to digest. Some of it true and some is not.”