My Perestroika

2010 | USA, United Kingdom | Color | 87 min

Russian, w/Eng. Subtitles
Film Still Image

Archive Details

Screened at SFJFF 2010

Westerners tend to imagine the massive changes in Russian life since the end of the Cold War as headlines and abstractions: Gorbachev and Putin, a new breed of capitalists and profiteers, a new wave of emigration by Russian Jews. But we have little access to the personal lives of ordinary Russians living through upheaval. In her marvelous and eye-opening documentary, director Robin Hessman—an American documentary filmmaker who worked in Moscow for nearly a decade—weaves together the private hopes, disillusionments and realities of five everyday Russians who came of age as Soviet teenagers, witnessed the USSR’s collapse and now are forging lives in a brave new post-perestroika world. At the center is the Meyerson family—Borya, who grew up under a cloud of anti-Semitism; and his wife Lyuba, so patriotic a Soviet child that she saluted the television when the national anthem played. They now teach Russian history with a candor unthinkable in their own childhoods. The trajectories of their middle-class Moscow friends are equally surprising and complex: rebel musician Ruslan, struggling single mother Olga, and successful menswear merchant Andrei. Hessman intercuts her intimate portraits with period news footage and rare Soviet-era home movies to give us a remarkably personal glimpse inside one of the great social and political transformations of our time. Premiered at 2010 Sundance Film Festival.—Peter L. Stein

Director Robin Hessman in person in Berkeley and San Francisco.


Robin Hessman
Robin Hessman
Alla Kovgan, Garret Savage
Principal Cast
Olga Durikova, Lyubov Meyerson, Boris Meyerson
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