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Russia's Anti-LGBT Laws Won't Prevent Carol's Release in the Country 

Russia's Anti-LGBT Laws Won’t Prevent Carol's Release in the Country

Russia's Anti-LGBT Laws Won’t Prevent Carol's Release in the Country

Russian distributor Arthouse has acquired the rights to the film.

The critically acclaimed drama Carol has secured distribution in Russia despite homophobic laws banning “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations.” The Russian distributor Arthouse has announced that it will release the film in May 2016.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Yan Vinzinberg, co-founder and CEO of Arthouse and it’s US-based parent company Lorem Ipsum Corp was positive about his company’s role in distributing the film, stating, “Carol is no doubt the main film event of this year, and definitely the most exciting love story to hit the screen recently. It’s a dream for everyone at Arthouse to be releasing this film in Russia.”

The film, based on the novel The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith, portrays a love story between Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara) and Carol Aird (Cate Blanchett). Carol has received five Golden Globe nominations, more than any other film released this year, and Academy Awards buzz.

Despite the film’s critical success, distributing Carol in Russia is not without challenges. The law “against gay propaganda among minors” was enacted in Russian in mid-2013. Since, there have been numerous attempts to disrupt screenings of LGBT films, including Blue is the Warmest Color.

“Gay-propaganda law will prevent Carol to be sold to major TV channels or even being advertised on federal networks,” said Vinzinberg. “Some cinemas will refuse to book the film as we witnessed with Pride earlier this year.”

When Highsmith first published The Price of Salt in 1952, it also pushed against LGBT censorship laws in the United States. “The appeal of The Price of Salt,” wrote Highsmith in the novel’s afterword, “was that it had a happy ending for its two main characters, or at least they were going to try to have a future together. Prior to this book, homosexuals male and female in American novels had to pay for their deviation by cutting their wrists, drowning themselves in a swimming pool, or by switching to heterosexuality (so it was stated), or by collapsing—alone and miserable and shunned—into a depression equal to hell.” Highsmith received numerous letters from readers over the years who were grateful to see themselves represented in a positive light for the first time.

Carol’s release in Russia may have a similar effect on LGBT citizens, and Vinzinberg seems sure the film will attract the audience it’s intended for. “On the positive side,” he said, “the controversy around the LGBT issues will help us market Carol to the right audience: educated and open-minded intelligentsia.”

Vinzinberg also believes the film will have wide appeal, and added, “It’s a film about a relationship, it’s a story of forbidden love, and we believe that it will appeal to the public way beyond the LGBT community. If Carol’s success in the United States is any indication, Vinzinberg’s optimistic vision is completely realistic. 

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