The Russian film caused an uproar in Vary. But viewers might be surprised

Despite strong protests, they screened the Russian film Captain Volkonogov escaped at the Karlovy Vary festival. “Was the hatred it roused justified?” asks film critic Mojmír Sedláček in a video review.

Video review of the film Captain Volkonogov fled, against which the Ukrainians protested the release in Vary. | Video: Mojmír Sedláček, Jakub Zuzánek, Blahoslav Baťa

The film depicts the period of the Stalinist purges and, according to the festival management, precisely names how the manipulative actions of a despotic leader can influence the mindset of the majority society, purposefully create enemies of the regime in the name of ideology and ruthlessly liquidate them, and how such actions ultimately lead to a national tragedy.

“This film, in which Yuri Borisov excels in the leading role, is a long way from propaganda praising the Russian nation,” says Sedláček after watching the film. According to him, a member of the Soviet secret police, Volkonogov, embarks on a kind of almost spiritual journey, because “he takes it into his head that he will avoid hell if one of the survivors of his victims forgives him.” “At its end, the grippingly shot thriller suggests that some Stalinist practices have survived to this day in contemporary Russia,” adds the critic.

The organizers decided to screen the film despite the protests of Ukrainian filmmakers and the Ukrainian ambassador to the Czech Republic, Jevhen Perebyjnis. According to critics, the film was created with Russian state support and its creators participated in propaganda films. Including the film in the program was inhumane, according to the ambassador. The organizers chose the film for the Karlovy Vary program last fall, i.e. before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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