Monday, September 26, 2011

Writing against the Grain

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Has a recent mainstream anti-Stalin film been made?
by Robert A. Waters

In 1945, George Orwell, already a well-known English author, sent a manuscript to his publisher. It was entitled Animal Farm: A Fairy Story. The book was refused, in part, because of its excoriation of Comrade Stalin and the Soviet Union. A small publisher finally took it on and Animal Farm is now recognized as one of the great books of the English language.

In 1962, Aleksandr Solzhenitzen published a novel based on his own real-life experiences. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich describes twenty-four hours in a Siberian labor camp. Needless to say, the Soviet government didn’t take kindly to the book and the author was exiled. However, One Day is credited with finally opening the eyes of many in the West to the reality of Josef Stalin’s barbaric regime.

That reality, however, seems to have escaped American film producers.

Every year, several new movies are released documenting the atrocities of Hitler’s Nazi regime. Last year, I saw Valkyrie (terrible) and Inglourious Basterds (fair). Some of the other Nazi movies I've seen include Schindler's List (fair), Band of Brothers (fair), and Saving Private Ryan (outstanding).

But I can’t recall one recent mainstream film that delves into the savagery of dictator Stalin.

Surely there are movies to be made about a leader who murdered at least sixty million and maybe a hundred million of his own citizens. Stalin, an odious tyrant who may have been responsible for more deaths than any leader in history, once said, “The death of a man is a tragedy; the death of a thousand is a statistic.” He should know.

An artist in the Soviet Union responded: “Where else do they kill people for writing poetry?”

In the end, an estimate of those murdered by Stalin and his brutal regime is hard to determine. There were just so many, and the Soviets were poor record-keepers, particularly when the victims were nobodies.

It’s safe to say that Hitler murdered his millions, Stalin his tens of millions.

These days, political correctness is one of the tools used to silence opposition to “progressivist” schemes. Film makers who adhere to the doctrine are rewarded with Oscars and a cash flow to match. Fascist dictator Hitler is “in” as a subject for movies, but communist dictator Stalin is “out.”

Is there another Doctor Zhivago lurking in the mind of some independent film producer? If so, it might be worth millions, but you're liable to get blacklisted if you produce it.

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