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Putin: The Movie

thekissisofftherecord.jpgHere is a particularly strange bit of news from Russia – the debut of a romantic film about the private life of Vladimir Putin, though the producers adamantly claim otherwise: “For the first time we have the chance to take a look at the life of a politician, from another angle,” reads a promotional brochure for the film, “This Kiss Is Off the Record,” distributed at a news conference in Moscow on Tuesday. “He is first of all a person. What is he like in life, in his family? What is in his soul? Is there room left in his heart for love?” Coincidentally, perhaps, the event was held in a reception room at the historic National Hotel, overlooking the Kremlin. Journalists also wondered if the film’s scheduled release, on Valentine’s Day, was aimed at the presidential elections on March 2, when the first deputy premier, Dmitri Medvedev, Mr. Putin’s handpicked heir, is expected to win by an overwhelming margin. (…) “People haven’t seen the film but are already actively saying that it’s a return of cult,” said Mr. Voropayev, referring to the cult of personality that surrounded Stalin, in particular. “This genre is not at all new to America. We decided that this genre is interesting to viewers, and we decided that our society has already matured to the stage of accurately evaluating this film.” The Russian government, flush with cash from oil and commodities, has recently been sponsoring patriotic films, both historical epics and kitschy blockbuster-style films about heroic secret service agents.