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Cyborgs – The Movie

February 12, 2017

Most readers will remember the classic propaganda films such as Triumph of Will (1935), and Casablanca (1942)  and perhaps even Confessions of a Nazi Spy (1939) – films (among many) that were meant to mold the public consciousness at a time of war.

The Cold War too, saw a continued cinematic line of propaganda that sought to unite the constituency pysche around an awareness of threat and national unity in defiance of competing propaganda (among other reasons).

Just under a year ago the blog listened to, and latterly chatted at considerable length with, an Ambassador from an EU nation regarding Russian propaganda.

The Ambassador being an erudite and insightful individual raised the point that despite numerous signals and an awareness of heightening propaganda emanating from The Kremlin for several years prior to events in Ukraine and the subsequent gushing forth of such nonsense immediately prior to the illegal annexation of Crimea (and ever since) questioned why there had been no  interest (or perhaps encouragement and/or collaboration) with the film industry to tackle the issue when it had worked so effectively before.

Indeed at the time much to the ire of said Ambassador, the only related movie due to be released was Snowden which hardly depicted him as the treacherous individual he is.  Perhaps an Assange movie will depict him as some form of Messiah?  (Maybe it is little wonder some such as Daniel Domscheit-Berg left the organisation long ago.)

Perhaps there will now be a growing interest from the cinematic community with Kremlin shenanigans now being overtly recognised across Europe (France, Germany, Italy and The Netherlands will feature on the Kremlin (and Wikileaks) agenda this year) and, of course, most recently the USA.

How effective such propaganda was and/or will be undoubtedly will become a field of numerous academic studies yet to be published.  It is therefore not for the blog to draw conclusions based upon very little.

At present, for the purposes of this entry, it is necessary only to accept that there was an intention to utilize propaganda (notwithstanding active measures and reflexive control) and that such propaganda was demonstrably delivered effectively to the point whereby dedicated myth-busting organisations (both voluntary and State run) emerged to counter Russian efforts – rightly (and too often belatedly) so.

And so to Ukraine, now in its third year of war with Russia and marking another anniversary of the Minsk document failing to deliver even a ceasefire in the years since it came into existence.

Arguably the only film from Ukraine relating to the recent tumult (and that portrays events that led to the ouster of Yanukovych) that has been produced (and seen any recognition outside the nation) has been Winter on Fire.

Now however “Cyborgs” is to hit the big (Ukrainian) screen soon (and probably streamed to the diaspora) on 6th December – a date no doubt deliberately chosen to mark the eventual fall of Donetsk Airport.

Needless to say Cyborgs relates to the dedication of those who defended Donetsk Airport valiantly for so long and against such odds.  Hopefully, considering there are many Cyborgs still alive and well, whatever is released will meet with their approval and not go too far into the realms of fantasy and unnecessary myth-making.

The place of the Cyborgs is already cemented within contemporary Ukrainian history without the need for unnecessary embellishment.  Their criticism would undermine the obvious propaganda that will come with this film.

However, accuracy aside (albeit anybody who takes the film The Battle of Britain (1969) as accurate is misled), the target audience is clearly Ukrainians and the propaganda will be aimed, as all films released during war, at consolidating the national constituency around the Ukrainian identity and the (genuine) heroics of those that are prepared to give (and gave) all.

Yon aforementioned Ambassador may still be dismayed that a continuing war in Europe now in its third year has not galvanised western cinema into action, but eventually the Ukrainian film makers have made a start.  It now remains to be seen how effective at identity consolidation and perception framing this film will be when most have long since chosen their  patriotic stance.  It may however, re-energise some wearying souls.

Thus how it would be received outside of Ukraine would be interesting when it comes to shifting perceptions nevertheless.

(It’s probably just as well there is no House of Cards or Yes Minister known to be in the Ukrainian pipeline.)

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