Hunting count Zaroff: How Hollywood agenda is always Russophobe

By Nicolas Bonnal

Much of the entertainment in film comes from the fact that reality is distorted, the imagination is stretched and we suspend our disbelief, if only for a moment.

As we know, there always was in American culture the fight between good guys and bad guys. This black and white dichotomy would be also a war of evil and good, of right and wrong, which may be applied to politics, Hollywood dictating or reflecting (one may make his choice) trends to American elites when it comes to diplomacy. As Ronald Reagan, a rather good former actor once said after having watched the second Rambo, "now I know what to do in case of a hostage rescue operation". Reagan is also famous for having treated former USSR of evil empire and having started an unreal Star Wars in reference to the epic saga. He is the best example to show us how much important is the connection between media and real politics. For all the terrorist stuff of the studios has prepared the American audiences to the preventive wars of this century on Arabic countries and elsewhere.

Hollywood has always spread prejudices against peoples and nations. Yet having evocated USSR, it seems important and interesting to underline the following fact: thanks to radical chic elites, Marxist infiltration in Hollywood's screenwriter's world, USSR has always been more preserved than Russia in the Hollywood hate agenda. During and after the WW2, Soviet Union was the best country to live in! I remember a very good comedy directed by Josef Von Sternberg, Jet pilot, starring John Wayne, famous for his anticommunist bias, and Janet Leigh, who plays the character of a very young, pretty and efficient soviet pilot who falls for our favourite cowboy! We also may remember the epic movie Reds by Warren Beatty.

More recently, in the eighties, Red Heat, by Walter Hill, shows a Schwarzenegger playing a Soviet police agent who helps a Chicago cop to fight local gangs linked to Georgian mafia. Even Doctor Strangelove, a war satire denouncing foolish nuclear programs of the Cold War, is not so anticommunist, for responsibilities are considered equal. And we are just amused when George C. Scott talks of Russian elites as the "ignorant Mujiks" the free world shouldn't fear. To end the chapter I don't know any important movie about Stalin. Hitler has been satirized and demonized one thousand times and Stalin never. He may have killed, deported or starved millions of Russians and Ukrainians; yet he was ignored by the leagues of morality of the West. But the Russian Revolution was labelled humanist as Tsars and precedent Russian society were labelled anti-Semites in many American films, including the classical musical Fiddler on the roof. It is well-known indeed that the "Jewish Moguls" have always played a very important role in Hollywood, running all majors studios (see the legendary book by R. Gabler, "A world of their Own"), and that Jewish people have always considered themselves to be victims of czarism, which motivated their now recognized involvement in communism and soviet revolution. Read for instance Jewish authors like Pipes (the Russian revolution), Slatkine or of course Lindemann on the subject.

Let's remember Nietzsche who has shrewdly described and predicted a great Russian-Jewish conflict (!) in these phrases of Beyond Good and Evil: A thinker who has the future of Europe at heart, will, in all his perspectives concerning the future, calculate upon the Jews, as he will calculate upon the Russians, as above all the surest and likeliest factors in the great play and battle of forces.(§251)

Yet the Russophobe bias is real in Hollywood history, and since the beginning. See for instance the famous Count Zaroff, the white Russian and aristocrat who hunts down the shipwreck's survivors in his isolated island. The movie marks aggressiveness towards traditional and tsarist Russia, which we may see in many movies of the thirties. Even the legendary The Lives of a Bengal lancer, with the Russian spy Tatiana who is allied to rebel Mohammed Khan reflects this eternal fight between the Anglo-Saxon and Russian world, between the whale and the bear, to talk in Kipling's or Great Game's words. Think of Afghanistan wars today...

The fight against Russia was also concerning the oceans. See the World in his arms, a wonderful adventure movie directed by Raul Walsh, which describes the fight for the furs, Alaska and the north pacific area. Here is the usual, unrealistic and sadistic Great Duke, the American hero and navigator (Gregory Peck), "the falling in love with the man of the people countess", and the traditional caricature of Russia as enemy of freedom. Americans just forget that the Tsar gently sold Alaska for a mere ten millions dollars and that Alexander II, definitively a good guy who ended tragically against true terrorists, helped Lincoln against his then old enemy, England, at the beginning of Civil War. They also forget the Russian American colonisation in California and Fort Ross and the long stay of Admiral Popov's Fleet in San Francisco in the 1860's. That entire Russian-American common story would later inspire the famous Nabokov masterwork Ada.

The spy movies like James Bond showed little hatred, at least in the Sixties. This spy war was for fantasy or for business, not at all personal. Instead there could be love stories between the so-called spies... Recently, since the End of Soviet Union, aggressiveness against Russia has increased. See the Russian terrorists in Air Force One (the Russians always are played by English actors boasting ridiculous accent), helping a cruel general (played by a German...), see also the Saint, which denounces nationalistic oligarchs, or even more repulsive movies like X-Files2 or Training Day, showing in a obsessive manner cannibalism, prostitution, the so-called Russian mafia and any kind of Russian misbehaviour. In a recent movie by David Cronenberg shot in London, Eastern promises, starring Viggo Mortensen, there is an unbelievable description and denunciation of Russian ruffians, obviously depicted as bigot, racist, misogynistic and unfit to live in our democratic free world. The problem is that even ordinary Russian people are ill-considered in this tremendous piece of work!

One may say this is of no importance. The problem is that this kind of stuff is projected and watched everywhere, for the American matrix is everywhere today. And nobody but film critics can watch Sokurov's movies for instance.

Russians are still labelled Free World enemies, anti-Semites, authoritarian personalities by Hollywood industry. It must be considered a necessity to fight this global prejudice which may attract antipathy and sometimes justify anything, including wild diplomatic gesticulation. 

Nicolas Bonnal

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Author`s name Nicolas Bonnal