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    March 30, 2015

    The Defenders: Actors chosen for a film about Soviet super-heroes


    Translated from Russian by J.Hawk

    The producers of the Russian fantasy thriller “The Defenders” which tells the story about a team of Soviet superhoeroes found actors for the main roles, according to Kinopoisk.

    The superheroes from the secret “Patriot” organization created in the USSR during the Cold War will be played by Anton Pampushnyy, Sanzhar Madiyev, Sebastian Sisak-Grigorian, and Alina Lanina. Valeriy Shirando will play the role of Patriot leader, and Stanislav Shirin the evil mastermind assembling a clone army to launch an offensive against Moscow.

    Pampushnyy will play the role of Arsus, capable of transforming into a machine-gun armed bear, Madiyev the Asian martial arts superhero Khan, while Sisak-Grigorian will play the role of a Caucasian Lera who can command the earth and stones. Alina Lanina got the role of Kseniya, who commands the water element.

    In accordance with the authors’ intent, the superhero team includes representatives of various Soviet nationalities, and their superhero skills reflect the strong qualities and traditions of nations being represented. The authors are planning to create a franchise, and gradually introduce superheroes from other Soviet republics.

    The filming of The Defenders will begin on April 27, and the movie will be in theaters in 2016. The movie is directed by Sarik Andreasyan, known for “Robbery American-Style,” “What Men Say,” and “Duty Romance. Our Times.”

    J.Hawk’s Comment: The movie is continuing the tradition already evident in other recent Russian films of reflecting the diversity of the Russian, and earlier Soviet, nation, often with an eye toward reflecting specific symbolism. Thus, for example, in White Tiger Junior Lieutenant Naidyonov (whose superpower was the ability to listen to what tanks, and the Tank God way up in the sky, had to say) was the crew's driver-mechanic, while the gunner was Georgian (a reference to Stalin?) and the loader came from Central Asia. Shakhnazarov's earlier war movie, The Star (Zvezda), similarly featured a rather diverse long-range reconnaissance squad whose members had specific strengths--and weaknesses. Brest Fortress similarly featured Soviet soldiers from even the most distant part of the USSR, and one of the four main characters, Regimental Commissar Yefim Fomin (a historical figure) was Jewish. In one of the movie's key scenes, he tells his Wehrmacht captors "I'm a communist, a commissar, and a Jew", which of course is equivalent to a triple death sentence in accordance with Hitler's "Commissar Order." 

    All of this is very much in keeping with the Russian and Soviet approach to nationbuilding, which was already well summed up by Peter the Great: 

       "He is Russian who loves and serves Russia!"

    Ultimately state service probably the best, the most effective way of maintaining a multi-ethnic national community, not just in Russia but also everywhere. One of the consequences of the trend toward "small government" (and, of course, "big market") is the rise of old ethnic hatreds and the break-up of national communities all over the Western world. In a way, this and other movies should be seen as a calling card of Russian approach to diversity and multiculturalism, which is rapidly becoming a major component of Russia's "soft power" that will ultimately prove more attractive than Banderism or other versions of chauvinistic, narrow nationalism which is the inevitable consequence of neo-liberal capitalism.

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    Item Reviewed: The Defenders: Actors chosen for a film about Soviet super-heroes Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Michael Jasinski
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