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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bruce Willis More Like Putin Than Saakashvili

Summertime in Georgia has eased by lazily without the grim prophecies of a renewed confrontation with Russia being fulfilled. But while the guns have generally remained silent, filmmakers have been keeping themselves busy with cinematic interpretations of last year’s firestorm. The latest attempt to offer the “truth” about the August 2008 war is a documentary called “Russian Lessons,” and unlike previous Russian-made efforts, it has been receiving some positive notices in the Georgian media.

This is partly because one of its directors, Andrei Nekrasov, is hardly a Kremlin apologist. (His last film was about the Alexander Litvinenko poisoning scandal). In contrast to the ludicrous battlefield thriller “Olympus Inferno” and the partisan documentary “War 08.08.08: The Art of Betrayal,” Nekrasov’s movie apparently provides “overwhelming evidence of a Russian imperialist plot,” according to Georgian television station Rustavi-2. In other words, it backs the Georgian interpretation of the showdown over South Ossetia.

Hollywood veteran Renny Harlin, best known for boisterous blockbusters like “Die Hard 2,” is among the other directors working on films about the conflict. Harlin’s plot reportedly features a pair of gutsy American hacks struggling to uncover the facts amid the fog of war. The director reckons he’s waited years to find a project with “substance and reality” and says he wants to use his action-movie skills to promote an anti-war message. However, it has yet to be revealed whether Bruce Willis will play Mikheil Saakashvili, although his white-vested, tough-quipping, macho-man style would probably make him more suited to the role of Vladimir Putin.

One American actor who definitely won’t be playing Saakashvili is Nicolas Cage. There was a rumor earlier this year that Cage would star in a movie about an emotional Georgian leader who shows his “true greatness” while battling to defend his motherland, but the story was swiftly unmasked as a hoax.

It appears more likely that Serbian absurdist Emir Kusturica will direct a movie about the war. An announcement about such plans initially raised hopes that Kusturica’s warped Balkan wit would provide a satirical antidote to some of the propaganda that is currently being passed off as cinematic truth-seeking. But the film is reportedly being backed by Ossetian nationalists, so it’s unlikely to be a slapstick comedy and probably won’t be screened in Georgian movie theaters any time soon.

Matthew Collin is a journalist based in Tbilisi.