Netflix Loves Russia's Beloved Sergei Bodrov, Jr.


Netflix Loves Russia's Beloved Sergei Bodrov, Jr.
Sergei Bodrov, Jr., on the transformer substation next to Alexander Nevsky Monastery in St. Petersburg. Amanda Shirnina

Sergei Bodrov, Jr. was one of the first Russian actors I knew about. Around 1999, my local Fenton, Michigan, Blockbuster had Burnt by the SunEast/West, and Brother on the shelves for a languishing Russophile teenager who had no access to the sounds of the Russian language. Thus, my first three Russian actors were Nikita Mikhailkov, Oleg Menshikov, and Sergei Bodrov, Jr. The latter, who died shortly after I began to be aware of him in 2002, is in the news again. The Brother (Brat) cult film franchise in which Bodrov, Jr. stars is now on Netflix.

After only one week on Netflix, Brat has entered the service's Top 10 list of most-watched films. Everyone wants to see 1990s Russian gangsters.

There were some concerns about how racist and racy phrases from 1990s gangster culture would be translated into English subtitles, including a major scandal about a short but important phrase and how Netflix translated it.

Bodrov, Jr. (he is "Jr." as his eponymous father is a famous film director), is generally respected throughout Russia as a class act. Certainly his tragic premature death on set at age 30 strengthened that legacy. His image has graced a transformer substation next to Alexander Nevsky Monastery in St. Petersburg since 2014, as seen in the photograph above.

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