Russian film critic Anton Dolin got a surprise over the weekend when he discovered that while he was at the Cannes Film Festival, he was also writing an extremely complementary review of a 2019 war film “Rzhev” for the newspaper Vecherni Kuryer.
The article, entitled “A War Film’s Success is in its Truth: Russian Directors Tell the Story of War Authentically and Objectively,” begins with news of a film about the Nuremberg trials in post-production at Mosfilm — “the first film to try to show what happened [at the Nuremberg] trials objectively.” Then it describes the film “Rzhev,” which was financed by Yevgeny Prigozhin, the food service magnate and Kremlin ally known as “Putin’s Chef.”
The review also praises “The Tourist,” about Russian military advisers in the Central African Republic, also financed by Prigozhin. The writer notes “the directors’ honesty; the true-to-life performances of the actors; and the attention to detail, history and the times” make these film so successful.
Dolin posted the piece on Facebook on Sunday, uncertain if he should complain to someone or “just laugh it off and forget it.” In the more than 200 comments under his post, most people expressed amusement, particularly over the writing style — “a good film should be good” — although many people pointed out that this kind of falsification is a new twist in the pernicious trend of fake news. Someone found yet another article in Vercherni Kuryer “written” by Anton Dolin, this one also praising Prigozhin.
Meanwhile, by Monday afternoon, Dolin’s name was removed from the article. It now ends “Author:” followed by a blank space.