Banning any form of art is rarely a good idea, it creates more interest, hype and attention than simply allowing the original showing would probably ever have done. In Russia, a film about the story of a Soviet era serial killer has been pulled from the cinemas for being ‘historically inaccurate’ according to the culture ministry.
Why is Child 44 banned in Russia
Now, I have read the book, but not seen the film, so I do know the story; the film was banned not for the actual story itself, but the portrayal of it.
In the book a serial killer is going round murdering children. The murders are then hushed up and the idea that there is a serial killer is denied (because these sorts of crimes, in fact most crimes, were not supposed to happen in the Soviet Union) whilst the investigator is hounded by his superiors for continuing the investigation. The author of the book, Tom Rob Smith, based the idea on the true case of mass murderer Andrei Chikatilo, also known as the Rostov Ripper, who killed over fifty children during the 1980’s and early 1990’s.
According to The Guardian, the film was screened for ‘officials and unspecified “experts”’ who decided that Child 44 would not be shown in Russian cinemas. “After this viewing, the opinion of the distributors and the ministry representatives coincided: it is unacceptable to show this kind of film on the eve of the 70th anniversary of victory.”
Having the film released so close to victory day (May 9th) some people may think that the film is a disservice to the memory of those who fought to defeat the Nazis, if any of you have ever seen the parade through Red Square you will know how highly the day is held in Russia.
The film was officially withdrawn by the distributor Central Partnership, but even after editing changes to the film failed to pass the screening test.
However, all is not lost for hopeful Russian viewers, as the culture minister Vladimir Medinsky has said that “Child 44 will be made available on licensed DVDs and online as soon as rights to these distribution options are open.” Hopefully the film will be shown in Russia, so that the citizens can watch and judge for themselves.