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Novosibirsk Court Fines Theaters for 'Wolf of Wall Street'

Published: April 8, 2014 (Issue # 1804)



  • Leonardo DiCaprio plays Jordan Belfort, a crooked and high-rolling stock broker, in The Wolf of Wall Street.
    Photo: Paramount Pictures

Five movie theater chains have been fined a total of 4 million rubles ($113,328) for showing the Hollywood blockbuster "The Wolf of Wall Street," which the central court of Novosibirsk deemed to be propagandizing narcotics use.

In February, the Novosibirsk branch of the Federal Service for Narcotics Control brought a case against six companies holding a total of 10 movie theaters for showing "The Wolf of Wall Street," saying that the film "reflected a subculture of drug abusers" and idealized the use of narcotics, Itar-Tass reported.

Viktor Ivanov, director of the Federal Service for Narcotics Control, said the order to pursue movie theaters had not come from him, and no cases have been brought against theaters for showing the film outside of Novosibirsk.

However, the Novosibirsk Regional Court on Friday sided with the local branch of the narcotics control service in finding the theater chains guilty under the Russian federal statute outlawing the propagandization or idealization of narcotics use.

Representatives of the theater chains continue to maintain that the court and local narcotics control service have no basis for their claims, as the film was approved by the Culture Ministry. "The Culture Ministry bears responsibility for the content of the film," said Yelena Dmitriyeva, director of the Kinositi theater chain, Colta.ru reported.

Kinoalliance, a nonprofit lobbying organization working on behalf of theater chains in Russia, announced its intention to support the defendants in appealing the decision. Mikhail Shvydko, special representative of the president for cultural cooperation, also expressed support for the defendants and described the situation as absurd: "Unfortunately, the current law code is so confused and contradictory that pretty much anything could fall under any kind of criminal punishment," Vzglyad business newspaper reported.

The film "The Wolf of Wall Street" stars Leonardo DiCaprio as a cocaine-snorting, pill-popping stockbroker and financier who makes money hand over fist via dubious methods before being busted and imprisoned. The film was released in December 2013 and has grossed more than $389 million worldwide.

Novosibirsk law enforcement is not alone in criticizing the film: It has been banned entirely in Malaysia, Nepal and Kenya due to its depiction of sex, drugs and profanity. Scenes were removed from the version distributed in India, and Singapore has allowed to film to shown only in a small number of theaters. In the U.S., animal rights activists criticized the film's use of apes as cruel and traumatic.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Aug. 28


Learn more about the citys upcoming municipal elections during the presentation of the project Road Map for the Municipal Elections being presented this evening in the conference hall on the third floor of Biblioteka at 21 Nevsky Prospekt. Steve Kaddins, a coordinator for Beautiful St. Petersburg, which gives residents an online forum to lodge complaints about infrastructure problems in the city, will be on hand to answer any questions. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. and is open to all.



Friday, Aug. 29


Park Pobedy will feature the sights and sounds of the world outside of Russia during the Open Art International Festival today. Taste foreign cuisine, learn how to make tea like the Chinese or relax in a hammock during the free event. Although entrance is free, you must register beforehand if you wish to attend.



Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in Downton Abbey if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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