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Author Topic: Russian Orthodox Villains in Hollywood Films  (Read 194 times) Average Rating: 0
jewish voice, sakura95, Fabio Leite, podkarpatska (+ 1 Hidden) and 2 Guests are viewing this topic.
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« on: Today at 02:11:37 AM »

Very recently there seems to be a rash of Hollywood films that portray Orthodox characters--always Russian Orthodox ones--in an extremely negative light.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is the first example I can think of: it came out in January 2014 and features a Russian plot to collapse the U.S. economy by staging an al-Qaeda-style terrorist attack followed by an engineered financial collapse. The plot is codenamed "Operation Lamentations", and the young man who is selected to carry out the attack is shown attending a Russian Orthodox church where the priest selects Lamentations 2:2 as the daily Bible reading. This verse is in fact the code phrase used to activate the attacker.

Later this year, The Equalizer (with Denzel Washington) came out and it features a Russian mafia led by an oligarch whose name is Vladimir Pushkin (does that name sound like anyone you know?) The gang's American headquarters is in the upper room of a nightclub and there is a huge icon of the Theotokos behind the leader's desk. During a fight in which Washington's character dispatches several of the gangsters, the icon is bloodied.

I haven't seen John Wick yet, but according to the Wikipedia article it's about a guy who used to work for a Russian gang and has since turned against them, but there is a combat scene at a church (I'm guessing an Orthodox one but don't know for sure since I haven't seen it) and the church building is being used as a front for the gang.

I suspect this recent trend is because Orthodox Christians aren't a very large demographic, so the film studios don't have to worry about alienating potential consumers. You don't see evangelical churches being portrayed this way in film, at least not nearly as often.

It might also be more politically/culturally than religiously motivated. Everyone just loves to bash Putin and Russia these days. You don't see this kind of stuff in movies with Greeks, or Lebanese Antiochians, or Armenians, or Ethiopians. It seems to specifically be an animus against Russians (or perhaps more broadly, Slavs). Why do filmmakers feel that way?



Someone ought to make a sequel to this documentary and call it "Reel Bad Russians".
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« Reply #1 on: Today at 02:15:23 AM »

THe US and Russia(including time under the USSR) have been at war ideologically since the end of the Second World War, if not longer, and wont be stopping anytime soon
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« Reply #2 on: Today at 02:42:53 AM »

I suspect this recent trend is because Orthodox Christians aren't a very large demographic, so the film studios don't have to worry about alienating potential consumers. You don't see evangelical churches being portrayed this way in film, at least not nearly as often.

Christians are pretty much always depicted as stupid by Hollywood, yet Christians still buy movie tickets and videos.
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« Reply #3 on: Today at 03:12:36 AM »

You don't see this kind of stuff in movies with Greeks, or Lebanese Antiochians, or Armenians, or Ethiopians. It seems to specifically be an animus against Russians (or perhaps more broadly, Slavs). Why do filmmakers feel that way?
Probably because the former aren't a threat to world stability.
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« Reply #4 on: Today at 03:49:18 AM »

There was this show on, called criminal minds. Out of no where, the main suspect (bad guy) had his story explained by basically narration. IT stated his family were devout Russian Orthodox Christians, and that he was then beaten for any disobedience to his father. That is probably the only time in their history of the show of mentioning the Orthodox Church, and the only thing it ever was coupled with was child abuse.
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« Reply #5 on: Today at 04:11:27 AM »

In the movie Salt, the OCA cathedral in NYC was used as the interior setting of the orphanage where they trained the children how to be Americans and kiss KGB agents' rings.  The Makaryev Monastery in Russia was also filmed as the exterior of this training compound.
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« Reply #6 on: Today at 06:05:49 AM »

Later this year, The Equalizer (with Denzel Washington) came out and it features a Russian mafia led by an oligarch whose name is Vladimir Pushkin (does that name sound like anyone you know?)

It does sound like the writer Pushkin.
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« Reply #7 on: Today at 08:04:19 AM »

I suspect this recent trend is because Orthodox Christians aren't a very large demographic, so the film studios don't have to worry about alienating potential consumers. You don't see evangelical churches being portrayed this way in film, at least not nearly as often.

Christians are pretty much always depicted as stupid by Hollywood, yet Christians still buy movie tickets and videos.

Then I guess Hollywood is right?
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« Reply #8 on: Today at 08:11:34 AM »

I suspect this recent trend is because Orthodox Christians aren't a very large demographic, so the film studios don't have to worry about alienating potential consumers. You don't see evangelical churches being portrayed this way in film, at least not nearly as often.

Christians are pretty much always depicted as stupid by Hollywood, yet Christians still buy movie tickets and videos.

Then I guess Hollywood is right?

Everyone's a sucker for distraction.
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« Reply #9 on: Today at 09:40:31 AM »

In the movie Salt, the OCA cathedral in NYC was used as the interior setting of the orphanage where they trained the children how to be Americans and kiss KGB agents' rings.  The Makaryev Monastery in Russia was also filmed as the exterior of this training compound.
The real outrage here is that the OCA would allow their cathedral to be filmed in that dung hole of a movie.
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« Reply #10 on: Today at 09:52:23 AM »

Take a deep breath. Catholics and their imagery and beliefs fare far worse in cinema.
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« Reply #11 on: Today at 09:57:34 AM »

Take a deep breath. Catholics and their imagery and beliefs fare far worse in cinema.
Are you implying that The Da Vinci Code is not an accurate representation of Roman Catholicism? I'm stunned.  What else about the world that Hollywood has told me might also be inaccurate? My whole worldview is crumbling right now.
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« Reply #12 on: Today at 10:23:33 AM »

Russians have always been a handy type of villain in Hollywood, and that's not going to change any time soon. Back when the baddies were communists, religion didn't play into it. In some cases, and some of the best, the Russians in question are Jewish (if you haven't seen Tim Roth and co. in the excellent Little Odessa, do so). The 'Orthodox' bit now is just a way to dress up the stereotype, nothing more.

That said, Black Widow's interrogation scene in The Avengers is my favourite Russian villainy scene Hollywood has ever come up with. Cheesy
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« Reply #13 on: Today at 11:59:27 AM »

Black Widow and Elektra (Russian and Greek) are the only quasi-Orthodox, quasi-hero(ines) charactes in comics and action movies.

But it seems that Hollywood or comics writers think of Orthodox becoming almost heroes, they will be female hot anti-heroes necessarily. Smiley


Black Widow after an assassination attempt is prevented


Elektra's icon corner

Both depictions came in Daredevil's stories. Daredevil is openly Roman Catholic (not really pious), and religious themes come out more often in his stories.

« Last Edit: Today at 12:03:07 PM by Fabio Leite » Logged

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« Reply #14 on: Today at 12:32:55 PM »

Black Widow and Elektra (Russian and Greek) are the only quasi-Orthodox, quasi-hero(ines) charactes in comics and action movies.

But it seems that Hollywood or comics writers think of Orthodox becoming almost heroes, they will be female hot anti-heroes necessarily. Smiley


Black Widow after an assassination attempt is prevented


Elektra's icon corner

Both depictions came in Daredevil's stories. Daredevil is openly Roman Catholic (not really pious), and religious themes come out more often in his stories.


there are 9 orthodox heroes 33 villains  4 clergy
http://www.comicbookreligion.com/?srch=religion-Eastern_Orthodox__14
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« Reply #15 on: Today at 12:39:56 PM »

Take a deep breath. Catholics and their imagery and beliefs fare far worse in cinema.
Are you implying that The Da Vinci Code is not an accurate representation of Roman Catholicism? I'm stunned.  What else about the world that Hollywood has told me might also be inaccurate? My whole worldview is crumbling right now.

I find the use of Catholic symbolism and teaching (purgatory) so bizarre in the storyline that I can't help from laughing out loud during the Fox tv hit "Sleepy Hollow". (Much to my wife's annoyance.)

Come on script writers,  the Brits and Patriots of the American Revolution were all most all diehard anti Papists. Franklin was agnostic at best, Washington was sort of Anglican and others were deists.
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« Reply #16 on: Today at 12:42:41 PM »

there are 9 orthodox heroes 33 villains  4 clergy
http://www.comicbookreligion.com/?srch=religion-Eastern_Orthodox__14

But Elektra and Black Widow are the only ones to have reached a fanbase large enough to become protagonists. All the others remain background coadjuvants or forgotten.
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« Reply #17 on: Today at 12:48:30 PM »

there are 9 orthodox heroes 33 villains  4 clergy
http://www.comicbookreligion.com/?srch=religion-Eastern_Orthodox__14

But Elektra and Black Widow are the only ones to have reached a fanbase large enough to become protagonists. All the others remain background coadjuvants or forgotten.
Dracula don't forget him. But yes other wise kinda right
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« Reply #18 on: Today at 12:50:09 PM »

Take a deep breath. Catholics and their imagery and beliefs fare far worse in cinema.
Are you implying that The Da Vinci Code is not an accurate representation of Roman Catholicism? I'm stunned.  What else about the world that Hollywood has told me might also be inaccurate? My whole worldview is crumbling right now.

I find the use of Catholic symbolism and teaching (purgatory) so bizarre in the storyline that I can't help from laughing out loud during the Fox tv hit "Sleepy Hollow". (Much to my wife's annoyance.)

Come on script writers,  the Brits and Patriots of the American Revolution were all most all diehard anti Papists. Franklin was agnostic at best, Washington was sort of Anglican and others were deists.
wait they were all up right out standing evangelical Christians how dare you  Cheesy
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