Moscow theater cancels screenings of Stalin film

English artist Andrea Louise Riseborough portrayed Svetlana Stalina in The Death of Stalin.
Updated 27 January 2018

Moscow theater cancels screenings of Stalin film

MOSCOW: A Moscow cinema, which screened British comedy “The Death of Stalin” in defiance of an official ban, has announced that it will stop showing the film after a raid by Russian police on Friday.
The Culture Ministry on Tuesday withdrew permission to screen British director Armando Iannucci’s film, which satirizes the death of the dictator, after Russian officials labeled it offensive and “extremist.”
But Moscow’s Pioneer Cinema, named after the Soviet youth organization, had decided to go ahead with its screenings of the film.
Reports of the cinema’s planned defiance led the Culture Ministry on Thursday to warn movie houses they would bear “legal responsibility” for showing the film.
On Friday, six policemen accompanied by a group of men in civilian clothing went to the cinema following a matinee screening of the film, and at one point held an administrator and other cinema employees behind closed doors.
Asked by AFP why they were there, the policemen repeatedly refused to give an answer. “We just wanted to go to the cinema at lunch,” one said.
The cinema’s employees did not comment on the decision to screen the film despite the ban and said they were not warned prior to the visit from law enforcement officers.
Later on Friday, Pioneer Cinema, which is owned by oligarch Alexander Mamut and is popular among the Russian liberal elite, said it would cease showing the film.
“Dear friends, for reasons not up to us, the Pioneer Cinema is obliged to cancel screenings of the film ‘The Death of Stalin’ from Jan. 27,” the cinema said on its website.
Anyone who has bought a ticket to a future screening will be reimbursed, it added.
Following the screening, but before the arrival of police, AFP spoke to Russians who watched the film that takes a sardonic look at the power scramble after Stalin’s 1953 death.
“Now I feel like doing something else that’s forbidden, like going to eat some Parmesan,” said Leonid Parfyonov, a liberal journalist and filmmaker, as he came out of the screening — a reference to the ban on Western food products in Russia.
Olga Gannushkina, 64, said she was grateful to the cinema for not canceling the screening and welcomed that a foreign director had made a film about the late Soviet dictator. “I think Russians are still scared to laugh about this,” she said.
Other viewers said the film was more of a tragedy than a comedy. Roman Laing, 25, said he came to the cinema after seeing on social media that it was still showing the film.
“It’s not actually a comedy, it’s a sad film. But as the fate of our country has often been so sad, we are used to laughing through tears,” he said.
Writing on Twitter, The Death of Stalin’s Scottish director Armando Iannucci thanked Russians for “all the messages of support” this week.
“It means a lot. I’m still hoping you get to see the film soon,” he wrote.


Two more accusers set to testify against Harvey Weinstein

Updated 29 January 2020

Two more accusers set to testify against Harvey Weinstein

  • The one-time aspiring actresses, Tarale Wulff and Dawn Dunning, are expected to describe those experiences from the 2000s with the disgraced movie mogul
  • Weinstein, 67, is charged with forcing oral sex on then-”Project Runway” production assistant Mimi Haleyi in 2006 and raping another aspiring actress in 2013

NEW YORK: One says Harvey Weinstein raped her after she let her guard down by telling herself he was only a “dirty old man.” The other claims he offered movie roles to her in exchange for joining in a threesome with him.
The one-time aspiring actresses, Tarale Wulff and Dawn Dunning, are expected to describe those experiences from the 2000s with the disgraced movie mogul when they take the witness stand Wednesday at a New York City rape trial seen as a milestone for the #MeToo movement.
Prosecutors are using the two so-called “Molineux” witnesses to bolster their case against Weinstein. The judge has allowed them to testify about “prior bad acts” that didn’t result in criminal charges because of the statute of limitations and other legal issues.
Weinstein, 67, is charged with forcing oral sex on then-”Project Runway” production assistant Mimi Haleyi in 2006 and raping another aspiring actress in 2013, who could testify later this week. He’s insisted any sexual encounters were consensual and zeroed in on his accusers’ continued contact with him after the alleged assaults.
The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they have been victims of sexual assault, unless they agree to be named or gone public with their stories as Haleyi, Wulff, Dunning and “Sopranos” actress Annabella Sciorra have done.
Wulff met Weinstein in 2005 while working as a cocktail waitress at a members-only lounge at Cipriani’s, one of his favorite Manhattan haunts. Even after he cornered her in a hallway and started masterbating, she convinced herself Weinstein “was simply a dirty old man” and decided to take up his offer to read for potential acting roles, prosecutor Meghan Hast said in her opening statement.
After Wulff read, Hast said, a driver took her to Weinstein’s apartment. There, the much bigger and heavier Weinstein pushed her onto a bed and raped her, the prosecutor said.
Dunning alleges Weinstein fondled her genitals during a business meeting in his hotel suite in 2004 and on another occasion offered her three small movie roles, but only if she had three-way sex with he and his assistant.
“Dawn tried to laugh it off, make a joke of it, but the defendant got angry,” Hast said. “‘This is how the industry works,’ he screamed at her. ‘How do you think other actresses got ahead?’”
Hast said Dunning then fled.
Jurors so far have heard a tearful Haleyi say how she tried to fight off Weinstein before he sexually assaulted her. Last week, Sciorra testified that Weinstein overpowered and raped her after barging into her apartment in the mid-1990s.
On Tuesday, it was Elizabeth Entin, Haleyi’s former roommate, who took stand to corroborate Haleyi’s testimony. Before the alleged attack in Weinstein’s Soho apartment, Entin said, the friends viewed Weinstein as a “pathetic old man” for pursuing Haleyi, and were amused when her pet Chihuahua, Peanut, once chased him around their own apartment in the East Village.
When a reporter asked Weinstein as he left the courtroom if he was afraid of Chihuahuas, he smiled and responded: “Do I look like I’m afraid of Chihuahuas?”