A little over five years ago, Russian cinema needed a shot in the arm. The Kremlin told towns with populations of less than 100,000 that there would be funding available for the “creation of conditions for the screening of national films”.
Among the now largely-forgotten works that later emerged was the reputed brainchild of Sergei Shoigu, Russia’s defence minister, which had been “personally approved” by President Putin. Entitled simply, Crimea, and shot on a budget of about 400 million rubles (£4.7 million), its release was accompanied by billboards across the country. “You don’t leave behind the ones you love,” audiences were told.