'Star Wars' Added to Russia's List of "Officially Approved" Foreign Films

Twentieth Century Fox/Courtesy Neal Peters Collection
'Star Wars'

Culture Ministry recommendations buck recent Cold War trend of anti-Hollywood hysteria

Russia's ministry of culture has added Star Wars to a list of officially recommended foreign films, bucking the recent trend toward a frosty reception for Hollywood products here.

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope is now among around 100 titles the ministry — headed by Putin loyalist and nationalist historian Vladimir Medinsky — approve for viewing by Russian citizens.

The list is similar to the U.S National Film Registry and includes European and Asian films as well as American. It's heavy on Hollywood classics, including Gone With the Wind, Citizen Kane, Cabaret, Bambi, Apocalypse Now, Scarface and Titanic.

Other movie from around the world, accompanied by images of period posters, include Hiroshima Mon Amour, Cinema Paradiso, Ashes and Diamonds, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Seven Samurai.

An official ministry statement is published alongside each listing: "The Ministry of Culture of Russia recommends this product for viewing by any legal means: through the acquisition of licensed copies, visiting cinemas and film festivals, using Internet cinemas."

Russian attitudes toward U.S movies have been becoming frostier in recent months as relations between the two countries have soured with rising tension over the Kremlin's support for separatist rebels in Ukraine and the illegal seizure earlier this year of its Crimean territory.

Last week a member of Russia's parliamentary culture committee recommended banning foreign films that "demonized" Russia, and quotas limiting the number of foreign movies allowed at Russian cinemas have been mooted for several years.