Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Eastern Promises, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Russian Mob.

Eastern Promises is a story set among the Russian mob of London. A London midwife, Anna, delivers a baby to a dying "junkie". The only clue of the mother's identity is a diary written in Russian. In the diary is a business card for a Russian restaurant, The Trans-Siberian. Anna's uncle can read Russian but refuses to translate, "bury her secrets with her". In desperation she turns to restaurant of the business card, The Trans-Siberian. The kindly restaurateur who helps Anna with translating turns out to be a little too involved.

Middle class morality is often held to ridicule and derision. In our western countries we have such nicely smug bourgeois lives that we forget there are much worse ways of organizing society. Soviet Russia was resolutely not a bourgeois society, its operating principals did not allow for the rule of law but for the will of proletariat. There were often times when "ordinary" criminals were better treated then political prisoners. For more insight into Soviet prisons read The Gulag Archipelago.

The thing about migrations is that the people, tribes, clans, sects, who had to move are the losers. They had to move, there were pushed out. Why they had to move can vary population explosion to economic collapse. The message from the fall of Rome is that other people's population growth, internal struggles, economic problems is a threat to everyone because it encourages migration that if unchecked will seriously damage the "host" community. Other countries successes, lots of children, or failure, not enough jobs for all the children, can destroy our own happiness no matter how removed they are from own own.

Inconsistency alert. This movie take place in London but within the London Russian emigre community, the Russian mob types are all recent arrivals and the the nurse is secound generation. There is some display of orthodox icons and religiosity by many characters. However the characters, both the gangsters and the semi-assimilated family of the midwife refer to Christmas as happening on 25 December on our Gregorian calendar, rather than Christmas occurring according to the Orthodox Church calendar or approximately two weeks later.

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