REVIEW: MY PERESTROIKA
When the USSR broke apart in 1991, a generation of young people faced a new realm of possibilities. An intimate portrait of the last Soviet generation, MY PERESTROIKA tells the story of five former schoolmates in Moscow, now turning 40, who were brought up behind the Iron Curtain. The film provides vivid accounts of their sheltered Soviet childhood, through the collapse of the USSR during their teenage years, to the constantly shifting political landscape of post-Soviet Russia..
Director Robin Hessman’s award-winning documentary weaves together Soviet propaganda films from the 1970s and 1980s – showing enthusiastic children aspiring to be upstanding Soviet citizens – with candid first-person testimony and verité camerawork to illustrate just how life in Russia has evolved from its Communist past to present-day under Vladimir Putin. Hessman, who spent many years living in Moscow, reveals a contemporary Russia rarely seen on film, where people are frank about their lives and forthcoming about their country..
MY PERESTROIKA is extraordinarily timely – it is cited as providing possible clues to what awaits countries experiencing the growing pains of Arab Spring. And the film sheds light on the current political situation in Russia, where masses recently took to the street to protest against the continuing rule of Vladimir Putin – a kind of public action not seen in over 20 years..
Ultimately, MY PERESTROIKA is a nuanced account of tumultuous times as experienced by a generation coming of age just as their country underwent traumatic social and political change..
“They are a key transition generation, the last generation to have completely Soviet childhoods and then be thrust into adulthood, graduating from college the very year their country collapsed,” said Hessman..
At the heart of the film are the personal stories of the five individuals:.
– Borya and Lyuba Myerson are married and both teach history at Moscow’s School #57. They had very different Soviet childhoods. Lyuba was a conformist who would salute the TV when the Soviet anthem played while Borya preferred to subvert the system whenever possible.
– Andrei is a businessman who sells expensive men’s shirts and ties from France. He has recently opened his 17th retail store. While living in the USSR, owning his own business would’ve been unimaginable.
– Olga, the prettiest girl in their class, is now a single mother who works for a company that rents out billiard tables.
– Ruslan is a musician and free spirit who tries to stay outside of society’s constraints. Formerly in a famous Russian punk rock band, he now busks with a banjo in the Moscow metro..
Engaging, funny, and positively inspiring, in MY PERESTROIKA, politics is personal, honesty overshadows ideology, and history progresses one day, one life at a time..
MY PERESTROIKA releases on standard digital platforms and DVD on May 15, following its 2010 premiere at the Sundance Film Festival and a critically acclaimed national theatrical release in 2011. The film was featured in the 2010 Film Society of Lincoln Center’s and MoMA’s New Directors/New Films and was broadcast nationwide on PBS’s P.O.V. series, for which it won a 2012 Peabody Award. Film festival awards include the Special Jury Award at the Silverdocs Film Festival, the Filmmaker Award at Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, and Grand Prix at the La Rochelle International Film Festival.
Dolby 5.1 and DTS Surround Sound
Over an hour of deleted scenes and interviews
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