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MOSCOW — Russian director Nikita Mikhalkov has told THR he won’t take legal action against designer and blogger Artemy Lebedev after Lebedev called on his readers to post parody posters of Mikhalkov’s Cannes Competition entry “Burnt by the Sun 2” several weeks before the movie was released in Russia.
The World War II epic is the sequel to Mikhalkov’s 1994 Oscar winner and, with a $40 million budget, the most expensive Russian film ever made. It’s also the first Russia film to fall victim to the very Western phenomenon of the Internet meme.
The online spoofs photoshop the poster for “Burnt,” which features Mikhalkov (who also stars as Colonal Sergei Petrovich Kotov) firing a machine gun and the tagline “A great film about a great war.” In the parody versions, Mikhalkov is compared to Rambo, a Nazi or a video game character and the tagline is often changed. “A great piece of sh** about a great war” one reads.
In Russia, where the Internet is one of the main outlets for dissenting views and criticism of the official ideology, the parody posters were hailed by many bloggers and Internet users. Some offline independent media did stories on the campaign. In response, Mikahlkov’s daughter Nadia threatened legal action.
“Dad is very indignant at what is going on around the picture, which has not yet been released,” Mikhalkov’s daughter Nadia told the Life News web magazine. “I don’t think he will tolerate it, he’ll take those jokers to court.”
But speaking to THR, Mikhalkov said he didn’t “really give a damn” about the spoofs. “It would be silly on my part to enter that discussion and refute things.”
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