A Georgian-Swedish movie “And then We Danced” was shown in Georgian cinemas on November 8, 9, 10. Screening of the movie was met with protest and violent actions from hate groups. Facebook pages affiliated with hate groups and pro-Russian actors were disseminating fake and manipulated context about the movie with the aim of mobilizing public opinion. Facebook page (Anti-Paradox) affiliated with Georgian March highlighted initially how Russia Today viewers supported their actions in the comments.
How RT viewers supported hate groups’ actions
On November 8, the first evening of the violent protest, a Facebook page ანტი-პარადოქსი (Anti-Paradox) affiliated with the hate group Georgian March published the facebook post accompanied by screenshots of Russia Today’s coverage of the ongoing protests in Georgia and supportive comments made by Russian users to the participants of the protest. Facebook post of Anti-Paradox was indicating how “Russian media giant” covered their protest and how RT viewers were supporting and justifying their actions. This post later was removed and is not accessible.
Disinformation: Nino Sukhishvili was deprived of her position as a UN Goodwill Ambassador due to the criticism of the movie.
The information as if the United Nations Office in Georgia has suspended Ms. Nino Sukhishvili, the National Ballet director as a National Goodwill Ambassador for Sustainable Development Goals was initially disseminated by an online edition kvira.ge, soon followed by other media outlets and Facebook pages of hate groups. The suspension of the Goodwill Ambassador post by Nino Sukhishvili was connected to her position on the movie “And then We Danced”.
On November 9-10, the news was disseminated by the following sources:
Official representation of the United Nations in Georgia denied the information about Nino Sukhishvili in its official statement released on November 10.
“Contrary to what has been reported by several media outlets, the United Nations Office in Georgia has not suspended Ms. Nino Sukhishvili as a National Goodwill Ambassador for Sustainable Development Goals... The United Nations Office in Georgia remains grateful to Nino Sukhishvili and our two other National Goodwill Ambassadors for Sustainable Development Goals for their support of our work…” – reads the statement on the website of the United Nations in Georgia.
Later, ultra-nationalist groups stated that Nino Sukhishvili was not deprived of her position and that the disinformation was disseminated by Levan Akin.
Photo manipulation: an actor from the movie wearing Queen Tamar’s clothing.
A photo has been disseminated on social media, depicting a man wearing Queen Tamar’s clothes. This photo was presented as a frame from the movie And then We Danced followed by hate comments and incitement of individual hatred towards the movie director.
In fact, the photo is manipulative, as it is not from the movie. The photo depicts a performer, Niko Tskhondia, wearing a Halloween costume in 2019.
Manipulation Using Movies Banned throughout the World
Another widespread narrative associated with the movie is the demand to ban it. The list of the movies banned in European countries for a certain amount of time was brought as an argument. Anti-Paradox published the list of banned movies on November 9 based on facebook post of Davit Mardaleishvili. The post mentioned that the state can interfere and ban the screening of movies that go against religion, politics, or ideology.
In fact, the temporary ban on the movies listed in the post was not associated with religious, political, or ideological reasons. The reason, in most cases, were violent scenes.
- Clockwork Orange premiered in the UK in 1971 and was banned in two years. Apparently, Kubrick’s on-screen violence appealed too much to a lot of young people, who were strolling in the streets of London and Paris, dressed as Alex, beating up and raping people. The move returned to the screens only after 27 years, following Kubrick’s death.
- After the Texas Chainsaw Massacre premiered in 1974, it was banned in many countries due to violent scenes and only returned to screens in 1999.
- The Human Centipede is a 2009 movie. Its plot includes a Nazi experiment that aims to surgically connect several people and create a “human centipede”. The United Kingdom demanded to remove 32 cuts from the movie until it would be released under an 18 certificate.
- E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is a sci-fi movie from 1982. Norway, Finland, and Sweden banned this movie for children under 11.
- Grotesque is a Japanese horror movie, premiered in 2009. Due to violent scenes, including humiliating, brutal, and sadistic murders, it was banned in several countries, including the United Kingdom.
- A Serbian Film (Srpski film) from 2010 is banned in Norway, Spain, and Brazil. The reasons behind the ban are violent scenes, including child rape, incest, and brutal murder.
Disinformation: The movie And then We Danced is a Pornography
According to one of the narratives around the movie And then We Danced, it is a pornography. The Head of Yevgeny Primakov Georgian-Russian Public Center, Dimitri Lortkipanidze, addressed the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia with the request to investigate the allegedly pornographic nature of the movie. The MIA reviewed the inquiry and decided that the movie does not contain signs of pornography.
Prepared by Lia Dekanadze
Regional Network of the Media Literacy Lab