Saturday, December 04, 2004

On The Mark -- Reporting from Russia IV

Voronezh -- It wasn't surprising to see that the Hollywood marketing machine is hard at work. The new Oliver Stone movie, "Alexander," opened in Voronezh with Russian translation (and no English subtitles). I didn't need dialogue to know that the film disintegrates quickly after the first 30 minutes, although in true Oliver Stone fashion, it had good war scenes. What I found most interesting was the crowd reaction. The men in the audience were laughing or chuckling during many scenes during the film, particularly (as well as I was able to determine) the scenes that portrayed Alexander's bi-sexual tendencies. A friend in the USA postulated that perhaps this was nervous laughter. But I can confidently say that that wasn't the case. I think the men in the audience wanted to "slap him silly," if you know what I mean. There's a lot of testosterone on the streets of Vornoezh. By the way, I didn't hear one female laugh or chuckle.

I sat in a cafe for a couple hours observing. Frequently I saw men walking or standing on street corners together. I saw women walking arm-in-arm. Rarely did I see a man and woman walking together, especially showing any kind of affection. There's a legitimate concern about the declining birth rate in Russia. This concern seems obvious as you watch the people walking the streets.

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