The Russian Ministry of Culture canceled the local premiere of the Child 44 on Wednesday, saying the movie portrayed Russia as “a sort of Mordor, populated by physically and morally defective sub-humans.”
Produced by Lionsgate, Child 44 stars Tom Hardy and Gary Oldman and depicts a Soviet officer (Hardy) as he investigates a series of gruesome child murders in 1953, according to the Associated Press.
The distribution company, Central Partnership, supported the decision and in a statement accused the film of misrepresenting facts that “took place before, during and after the Second World War” and of making a false “portrayal of Soviet people living at that time.”
The decision raised concerns that film distributors will begin to self-censor to avoid having a movie premiere cancelled.
“It’s clear that now, if [a film] is about history, it has to correspond to some system of coordinates,” film distributor Alexander Rodnyansky told Russian media translated by the Wall Street Journal. “Now the self-censorship will begin: Many people will start being afraid to buy and distribute films here.”
Child 44 will be released in the United States on April 17.