Hockey Doc 'Red Army' Stirs Controversy in Russia

Festival de Cannes
'Red Army'

Some theaters turned it down, claiming it is not "patriotic."

The upcoming release of the U.S.-Russian hockey documentary Red Army has stirred controversy in Russia as some theaters turned it down, apparently unhappy with the way it portrays the Soviet Union.

Around 10 theaters refused to screen Red Army and claimed it was not "patriotic," said the film's Russian distributor Arthouse.

"The film was made by American director Gabe Polsky, which in many ways explains the attitude of many Russians toward the film," Abigail Honor, сo-founder and CEO of Arthouse's U.S.-based parent company Lorem Ipsum Corp., told The Hollywood Reporter. "They see the film as celebrating the negative American view of Russia in a time when the relationship between the two countries is so strained."

The documentary tells the story of the Soviet Union's famed Red Army hockey team from the 1950s to its deterioration in the 1990s through the eyes of its players.

Red Army premiered in Moscow last week, and a wide release is scheduled for August 27. There are currently about 40 screens committed, and Arthouse said it is still working to add more.

The film made its North American debut at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival, and was later screened in the Special Screenings section of the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.