Thursday, September 15, 2016

Another must-read movie review by brilliant Moscow-based film critic (among his many talents) Mark Teeter (from facebook)

MOSCOW TV TODAY: Whose ‘Catastrophe’ Was It Anyway?
СССР. Крушение/USSR:The Collapse (Documentary. Russia, 2011)(Istoria,13:15 & 22:25)
--> Getting a little tired of the current masters of the State “doing an Orwell” on episodes of Russian history they suddenly don’t like? This documentary offers some welcome relief from the wholesale reinvention of the past for present purposes, and does it using the biggest “episode” of the last quarter century – the end of the Soviet Union.
Eight directors took two years to make this 8-part series, one principal asset of which is its horse’s-mouth approach: you get Gorbachev, Yeltsin, Yazov, etc., telling the camera how it went down (in their view), plus a good selection of key observers/players from elsewhere adding their 2 cents – and when it’s James Baker, Hans-Dietrich Genscher, Zbigniew Brzezinski and our own Jack Matlock doing the telling, the 2 cents can actually add up to a lot more.
Russians will continue to argue about the events in question for decades – actually, they’ll probably argue about them as long as there are Russians – but if one can judge the present generation by the self-selected audience of KinoPoisk viewer/contributors, then this documentary’s version is broadly accepted: it gets a very solid 7.8/10 from them. And indeed, while you can argue with parts of the narrative (text by E. Sarkisyan and M. Chervyakov) and even w/ the presentation of interviews (questions asked/not asked, what’s used/left out), the overall intent of the project is self-evidently to get the Big Picture right rather than manipulate it for temporal purposes.
How can you tell that Medieval teleology had not yet put down roots in Russian popular media historiography in 2009-2011? When a Rossiya 1 documentary interviews musician Andrei Makarevich, as this one does – which became impossible soon thereafter, once Makarevich was publicly branded a “national traitor.” Here he's still a long way from the nefarious un-person the State so dearly wants him perceived as now -- too bad for them and bravo for AM and the audience.
[Parts 5 and 6 and air today at the times above. The whole series is available here:

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