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DSEi footage wanted, screening 'Lord of War' Thursday

lord of war @ rampART | 12.09.2007 11:28 | DSEi 2007 | Anti-militarism | Free Spaces | London

The weekly cinema at the rampART social centre will be screening Lord of War this thursday along with DSEi footage, so if you were filming please contribute your rushes or finished edits. Screening starts 8pm so you just have time to scream at a few delegates going into the arms dealers dinner at the Dorchester before hightailing it over to rampART for more immoral death and destruction.

This thursday, hot on the heels of the massive arms fair being held in docklands this week, and while those dealers in death are stuffing their faces at the Dorchester, we'll be screening shorts from DSEi protests and also showing 'Lord of War' staring Nicolas Cage.

Cage plays the antiheroic protagonist, an illegal arms dealer with a similarity to Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout. The movie begins with Yuri Orlov (Nicolas Cage) (no relation to Yuri Orlov who is a human rights activist in real life), standing in a sea of spent shell casings matter-of-factly stating, "There are over 550 million firearms in worldwide circulation. That's one firearm for every twelve people on the planet. The only question is: How do you arm the other eleven?" The opening credits follow the life of a 7.62x39 mm cartridge: from a munitions assembly line in Odessa, Ukraine, to various arms dealing intermediaries, and ending in the head of a small African boy.

The rest of the movie is told in flashback, starting in 1982 and ending in the completion of the opening scene.

Through voiceover, Yuri Orlov describes how he first became an arms dealer. Yuri and his family came to United States from Ukraine when he was a young boy. They live in "Little Odessa", a Russian community in Brooklyn in New York City. His family pretends to be Jewish for favorable immigration conditions to escape the Soviets. His family owns a restaurant, which is useful, "because people are always going to have to eat," and his brother Vitaly is the chef. After Yuri sees a Russian Mafia boss kill two would-be assassins, he decides to provide another necessity: guns. He then goes to temple with his father, and meets Eli, his first supplier. He makes his first sell, an Israeli Uzi, in a motel room to two men.

Yuri then partners up with his brother Vitaly (Jared Leto), but it's obvious that Vitaly has moral issues about it. Before beginning his career in earnest, he approaches Simeon Weisz (Ian Holm), a seasoned arms dealer, at an arms convention with a business proposal. Weisz turns him down, dismissing Yuri as an amateur. He tells Yuri that he doesn't just sell guns, he takes sides in wars; Yuri seems confused about it because Simeon had sold weapons to both sides in the Iraq-Iran war, Simeon tells him that he wanted both sides to lose. He sells to both sides of the war; Israeli made guns to Muslim buyers, he sells Communist made bullets to Fascist, and he doesn't take sides. He said he didn't sell to Osama Bin Laden though, not for any moral reasons, but because back then his checks always bounced. He also sells to the United States, as an unseen general makes a purchase from him. The general's face is never seen, but his medals and ranks are, and Yuri says that the purchases are for their own "personal wars".

Yuri gets his big break when the Soviet Union dissolves. Yuri rushes to Ukraine after watching Gorbachev's Christmas Day 1991 resignation speech on television and begins buying tanks and AK-47s to expand his inventory.

The movie ends by proclaiming on-screen that it is "based on actual events" and that, while arms traders like Yuri Orlov continue to thrive, the U.S., the UK, France, Russia and China (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council) are the world's leading arms suppliers.

lord of war @ rampART


Check out the title sequence

12.09.2007 22:21

As a taster, check out the title sequence.