Monday, October 26, 2009

MAGAZIN: Lights, camera, propaganda! By Shaun Walker (

A president, dressed in a sharp suit and red tie, addresses crowds of cheering flag-waving Georgians from outside the parliament building in Tbilisi.

“Today the forces of occupation are gathered at our gates,” he shouts, wildly gesticulating and with a voice cracked with emotion. “They have guns, they have bombs. But we have something more precious than that. We have our love for freedom and our love for Georgia!”

The crowd erupts in cheers of approval. But this time it’s not Mikheil Saakashvili making the same speech that he made over a year ago on this very spot.

It’s the Hollywood actor Andy Garcia, in town to shoot a film due out next spring that will cover the events of last August’s war, and will also star Val Kilmer. It is directed by Renny Harlin, famous for blockbusters such as Cliffhanger and Die Hard 2, and is likely to become another gambit in the battle for world opinion over what exactly happened in August 2008. Sceptics point to the fact that one of the film’s co-producers and scriptwriters is an MP for Saakashvili’s ruling party.

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