The Null Device
Russia's rogue film translators have struck again: this time, a pirate version of the Margaret Thatcher hagiography The Iron Lady has Thatcher admiring Hitler and vowing to “crush the working class, crush the scum”:
In a scene from the original film, two Conservative advisers tell Thatcher that she needs to soften her image after they watch her being interviewed on television. In the Russian version, which has been dubbed to have her say that she would crush the working class, an adviser responds: "Of course you went a bit over the top ... One of them [the workers] could be literate and have a television and see everything and tell all the rest," he says, "and then rumours would spread that you are a pitiless, heartless bitch."
Creating a new script over pirated films is nothing new in Russia; one famous translator working under the pseudonym Goblin made his name by making entertaining versions that were sometimes better than the original. But this seems to be the first time that a mainstream film has been so radically changed to fit in with a political viewpoint, in which Thatcher and her ministers are shown as part of a world conspiracy, controlled by shadowy leaders. The script veers from the hysterical to the absurd – at one point Thatcher says she intends to deliberately start the Falklands war with the help of fellow fans of her favourite free market economist, Milton Friedman.Which looks like a cross between the Russian tradition of détourning Western popular works (see also: Lord of the Rings from a Mordorian progressive/rationalist perspective) and the Downfall parody video. Apparently the pirated translation has fooled at least one film critic, who quoted the dialogue in a generally positive review.