GOING BY BUS (CONTINUED)

However, the movie was shown in the bus on my return trip. The sound was rather loud and you couldn’t but hear it all the time while you were on the bus. The title of the film was Strelyayushchiye Gory (The Mountains That Shoot). A Russian superhero in the film disperses an armed group which has penetrated from the territory of Georgia in the Caucasus into Russia. I wondered why the drivers were showing that kind of film. The answer could be found in an observation made by my teacher long ago: we, teachers, teach the way we were taught when we were students. It looks that the drivers showed the kinds of films they were shown in olden times. The manner of demonstrating the movie was also “olden”: nobody asked the passengers whether they liked suchlike movies or not, or what their aesthetic or political views were. One had to possess unbelievable stamina to withstand the four-hour bombardment with military songs, patriotic shouts, primitive propagandist dialogues, or prolonged fights in which the “white man” – a Russian border-guard – is usually a winner. At the end of the film a certain Merkuryev after a five-minute karate fight throws the leader of the “illegal armed gang” (Hassan) into a precipice. Still conscious, the leader sees birds of prey floating in the high sky waiting for his death.

As twenty years before, we keep jolting in the same Russian-owned, shabby “imperialist” bus.

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