The Dictator shortened after censorship in Uzbekistan

The Dictator film poster
Sasha Baron Cohen’s political spoof “The Dictator” has been censored in Uzbek cinemas: a number of episodes that have not appealed to the Uzbek authorities have been cut off from the film.

Uzbekistan cut the 83-minute long film to 71 minutes, making it 12 minutes shorter than the original version.

Perhaps, scenes that failed to go through state censorship were regarded as having close parallels with Uzbekistan or simply as indecent.

However, in view of the fact that the film is showing in cinemas in Uzbekistan, its shortening seems to be a trifle. The previous films starring Sasha Baron Cohen, “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan” and “Bruno” have not been showed in Uzbek cinemas at all.

“The Dictator” was directed by Larry Charles who earlier worked with Sasha Baron Cohen on the films “Borat....” (banned in Kazakhstan) and “Bruno”.

This joint film features the story of a dictator of the fictional African county of Wadiya, Admiral General Alladin, who, after a trip to the USA, repents his dictatorial manners and decides to introduce democracy in his country, naming himself the president, who polls almost 100% of votes as usual.

The film producers have described their new film as “the heroic story of a dictator who risked his life to ensure that democracy would never come to the country he so lovingly oppressed”.

The appearance of “The Dictator” in Uzbekistan looks strange even more because it had already been banned in other post-Soviet authoritarian countries like Belarus, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan before its global première.

The RIA Novosti news agency has reported that a spokesperson for the company Tantana, a distributor of foreign films in Tajikistan, has said that this decision was made “because of the local mentality”.

The head of the licensing department of the Tajikkino (Tajikistan cinema) state directorate, Akbar Sharipov, explained that all films shown in Tajikistan must obtain a license from Tajikkino, undergo censorship and receive an age limit.

“`The Dictator’ has not been licensed so cinemas which will show it will be fined,” the news agency quoted him as saying.

Other Central Asian countries, including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, the performance of the film started on 17 May, a day after its global premiere. The film was first shown at Tashkent’s cinemas like Grand Cinema, MEGA Cinema, Premier Hall Cinema and Kino Olami. Today the film is on at other cinemas as well.