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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Substance and Reality: Hollywood on the South Ossetian War

The director that brought us A Nightmare on Elm Street 4, The Adventures of Ford Fairlane and Die Hard 2 announced he is already casting for a low budget “art film” about the 2008 South Ossetian war. What we don’t know is which version of the war Renny Harlin aims to present.

In March, a Russian produced version of the war, Olympus Inferno, has an American entomologist and Russian journalist stumble into the conflict to discover how Georgia and America secretly started it all and committed genocide etc. etc. As a Russian propaganda tool, the made for TV movie has been a great success, as people throughout the former USSR believe the action film is based on proven facts, and take them at face value.

What facts will 5-time Razzie nominee (worst director/worst film) Renny Harlin base his war film on? Let’s hope he doesn’t get his information from the same place Hollywood’s premier source of news, Variety, does:

“The five-day war saw Georgia launching a large-scale military assault on the Russian-backed Republic of South Ossetia: an internationally unrecognized regional government resulting from the Georgian / Ossetian conflict of 1991-2… Russia responded with some force, but recognized South Ossetia's independence in late August 2008, and had officially withdrawn by October, although tensions remain.”

Nice try, Hollywood.

What we do know is that Renny said his film will be about a pair of journalists and how they deal with being impartial and the sympathy they have for the locals they met. The truth is, the only journalists in the war that should have had existential impartiality issues were the propaganda blowhorns, Russia Today TV and Georgian’s own, Rustavi 2. Most everyone else was too busy chasing honest stories and hurrying back to file them in the hopes they wouldn’t get shot or blown up along the way.

"I've waited a long time to find something with substance and reality," the director of the 2009 flop, 12 Rounds, said.

He may be right there. His 30 year career is full of nothing but forgettable movies. But if directors like Ki-duk Kim, Lech Kowalski, Nuri Bilge Ceylan and Mohsen Makhmalbaf have based their lives on directing films of “substance and reality” what’s been Renny’s problem?

I cringed through the first ten nauseating minutes of Olympus Inferno on Youtube before quitting. While some people are excited a Hollywood rendition of Georgian reality will bring mainstream attention to this quirky corner of the world, I can only squirm and expect the worse from a guy whose claim to fame was a sequel to an action film starring Bruce Willis.

The South Ossetian war remains a highly convoluted subject that has been so twisted by the media nobody knows which way is up. Even Variety has its version of the war. It is a subject that demands intelligent treatment, not some superficial Tinsletown rendition directed by a two-bit bum from Palookaville. Georgia deserves better.

(Ford Fairlane "won" the 1990 Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actor, Worst Picture and Worst Screenplay. It was also nominated for Worst Director and twice for Worst Supporting Actor.)


laura c. said...

Will Andrew Dice Clay play Misha?

paul rimple said...

And Danny DeVito will play Medvedev...

Lech said...

I see your back where you belong, out of the USA, I am back from an extended trip in Poland chasing Smithfield pig trucks around the country and other for the moment unnamed brand trucks hauling Brazilian poison from the port city of Gdydnia.

As for this new Hollywood film uhhhhh!!! - One of my favorite films is Battle of Algiers - originally the screenplay was written for Marlon Brando - he was to play guess what, a journalist traveling to Algeria to uncover the atrocities etc etc and of course they could not come up with the cash for the American actor and had to make the low budget film they ended up making and of course the lack of funds made them have to make an authentic film as opposed to a vehicle for a well paid actor. Keep Hollywood in Hollywood. They are like the catholic church spreading there poison around the world looking for converts and of course the converts all become junkies because the shit they are selling in as strong as the heroin flowing out of Afghanistan. Lech

Anonymous said...

William Baldwin and Andy Garcia should play Misha.

Daniel Craig should play Putin.

paul rimple said...

Nicolas Cage shoots a movie about Georgia and plays Saakashvili 07.01.2009 Georgia Times 14:45

Nicolas Cage, a renowned Hollywood actor, will shoot a movie about the August events in the Caucasus and Russian-Georgian conflict.

According to some messages, the project has already started. Cage caries it out with the Stone Village Pictures.

The preliminary name of the film is «Bitter drop of freedom», Day.Az informs.

Nicolas Cage will be not only director, but will play Georgian President, Mikhail Saakashvili.

The budget of the movie is not high, that is why the script includes few battle stages and shootings on locations. The film can be referred to psychological drama. In his interview to Verfluchter Beobachter the actor said that the idea to shoot such a film appeared in practically a month.

According to Cage, he was shocked with great tragedy of the statesman, who faced the necessity of hard and crucial choice. In his view, in such moments the true greatness of a person reveals in such turning points of history. Cage hopes that he will manage to show the deep emotions of a person placed in inhuman conditions.

All a crock of shit of course..

laura c. said...

Haha! Brilliant! And Cage's career continues to spiral downward.