Russia Looks Elsewhere For Movie Entertainment
Despite the tumultuous history of Russia with the West, Hollywood blockbuster movies have nevertheless created a profitable industry in the country over the past decades. Now, with mounting sanctions cutting off trade and a boycott by Hollywood and western film industries, some of Russia’s biggest cinemas chains have announced that they will be showing a different line-up in movie entertainment. This will include domestically produced content, as well as movies from India, South Korea, and Latin America.
President of the Karo cinema chain, Olga Zinyakova, told Russian newspapers that she doesn’t believe the current situation to be hopeless. After all, she says, Russian audiences have proven to have shown great interest in Bollywood films over the decades. South Korea and Latin America have likewise become major players in the global film industry.
Foreign films have long accounted for around 75 percent of the Russian box office, with cinema-going one of the most popular leisure activities of the general public.
Khwaja Ahmad Abbas’s 1949 film, Dharti Ke Lal, was the first Indian film to be dubbed into Russian and viewed at Russian cinemas. However, it was in the mid 1950s, during the era of actor-director Raj Kapoor, that Indian movies became steadily more a staple of Russian cinemagoers. By the time of the collapse of the USSR, over two hundred Indian films had been screened around the country. Often, they proved to be among the most successful of foreign films or remakes, racking up millions of ticket-sales.
The 1972 film “Seeta aur Geeta”, for instance, a story about twins separated at birth and happily reunited later in life, became so popular in Russia, that a famous pair of Siamese twins born in Kyrgyzstan were given the names Seeta and Greeta by their parents. Former deputy prime minister, Vladislav Surkov, once alsoopenly admitted his love for Indian cinema.
Russia has also been showing a keen interest in securing diplomatic relations with many South American countries in recent years, such as Nicaragua, Venezuela, Cuba, Brazil and Argentina. This has lead to various partnerships in Russian and Latin American film and television, such as the recent collaboration between Russian production powerhouse, Central Partnership, and the Latin American film group BF Films.
The growing success of South Korea’s film industry has also been producing a wealth of quality cinema recently, with Bong Joon-ho’s 2019 film “Parasite” receiving multiple awards, including an Oscar, at film festivals all over the world in all the most distinguished categories.
With Hollywood holding far less of a monopoly over international cinema than it has in past decades, the Russian cinema industry hopes that the combination of the world’s other film industries, as well as their own, will suffice to satisfy Russian audience during the troubled times ahead.
The leading cinema chains and theatres include Cinema Park, Formula Kino, Premier Hall, Karo, and Kinomax. Even though their film profile will be changing like the numbers in the bingo Australia offers, they are vowing to keep the prices of tickets at a low and affordable level.