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Russian Comedy Plays on YouTube, Not in Movie Theaters, to Avoid Censors

Russian Comedy Plays on YouTube, Not in Movie Theaters, to Avoid Censors


Liza, Margarita’s daughter, strolls in wearing a fur coat, for which Georgiy reprimands her, saying someone could rob or murder her for it. “I’m cold in my other fur coats,” Liza answers. In one telling scene, a starving girl brought home by Margarita and Georgiy’s son, Masha, is tasked with slicing the bread; she turns a sheet of newspaper into a small tray for the loaf, so not a single crumb will be lost as she slices it.

Mr. Astakhov, the film’s cinematographer, said he would have opposed the idea of making a comedy about the blockade itself. But “Holiday,” he said, is “not about the veterans and the people who suffered and died. It’s about the people who survived and were dealing with questions of morality.”

On YouTube, commenters said that corrupt officials in Russia must have recognized themselves in the film’s main characters.

“This movie is an allegory for today’s regime,” wrote a user calling himself Andrew Usac, “in which officials are going crazy from greed, measuring themselves with yachts, cars and villas.” Meanwhile, he added, Russians were “tightening their belts, economizing on even the basic necessities,” and “working without a break until death just to feed themselves.” The comment had been liked 2,400 times on Tuesday.

Mr. Krasovskiy said he believed that misinformation had been spread about his movie as a form of distraction. In September, about a month before Mr. Krasovskiy began receiving the threatening calls, Russians took to the streets to protest a planned increase to the retirement age. More than 1,100 people were detained, according OVD-Info, a rights organization. “This way people are not agitated by the actual problem but are mad at a crazy producer who shot a horrible movie and offended veterans,” Mr. Krasovskiy said.

Since “Holiday” went up on YouTube, the criticism has quieted, Mr. Krasovskiy said. And, he added, people who might never have heard of his work are reaching out and supporting him. “For the first time, the deputies and officials are working on my behalf,” Mr. Krasovskiy said. “Like a P.R. department.”



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