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Anna [VHS] (1996)

Nikita Mikhalkov  |  NR |  VHS Tape
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Directors: Nikita Mikhalkov
  • Format: Color, Letterboxed, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Subtitles: English
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: New Yorker Video
  • VHS Release Date: February 16, 1999
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 1567301630
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #385,983 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews


In the Soviet Union it was forbidden to shoot home movies, but noted director Nikita Mikhalkov (who won an Oscar® for Burnt by the Sun) ignored that prohibition and secretly filmed his daughter Anna across a span of 13 years. Every year Mikhalkov would ask the child the same five questions, and the film from their casual interviews would be secretly processed. This intimate look at a little girl's growing consciousness became the backbone of what turned out to be a startling and brilliant documentary. Mikhalkov happened to be surreptitiously filming his daughter during a span of time when the Soviet Union would change enormously, as Leonid Brezhnev died and his successors gradually began making changes that would lead to the dismantling of the USSR and the emergence of a new Russia. Footage of a young Anna smiling and answering her father's questions are deftly contrasted with newsreel footage of a Communist youth rally presided over by the aged Leonid Brezhnev. And at one point, as Anna gets older, she mentions her fear of "giving wrong answers," and the stifling atmosphere created by the Soviet state becomes apparent. As things begin to change profoundly in the late 1980s, a loosening society is shown, and Anna's own development into a thoughtful young woman becomes an analogue for changing attitudes in Russia itself. This film is a profound and powerful meditation on both family and nationhood, and it stands as a remarkable work of art. --Robert J. McNamara

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The beauty of nostalgia January 6, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
I have seen this film at the movies 7 times, and I can't help being moved each time.It treats a universal theme: the difficulty and fear of growing up and finding values to live by in your life. This film is exceptional, and by far the best of Nikita Mikhalkov: it is intimate, moving in the way it portrays family life, extremely sincere and beautifully nostalgic. Additionally, to those who have not travelled to Russia, it gives a very special glimpse of the Russian soul. You will be marked by this film for a long time: it effects your whole vision of life, in a very positive and human way.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank You, Anna November 29, 1999
By Jake
Format:VHS Tape
Anyone who is interested in or familiar with N. Mikhalkov's work as a director and actor will certainly enjoy and admire it more and more with "Anna." This brilliant display of footage from the days of the Soviet Union, its collapse, and the somewhat chaotic aftermath of society trying to define itself includes clips from all parts of life: politics, pop-culture, and private life. How he interweaves this is into the premise of the film is remarkable. For anyone interested in how Soviet/Russian life has changed over the years or stayed the same, this is an excellent educational film as well. It certainly gives a good idea of how the Russian people lived their lives, thought about their place in life and their future, and were transformed from the late seventies to the nineties. In addition, genuine "humanness" comes out in this film more than others of this genre. We see the transformation in people's lives (especially the charming Anna) on a human scale instead of through a traditional documentary format. We are brought directly into Anna's life at various times in her life and at the time of historical events in her homeland with the same five questions asked to her by her father (Mikhalkov). Towards the end of the film we see the adorable Nadia, his youngest daughter starting to grow up. You will remember her from his later Oscar winning film, "Burnt by the Sun," another remarkable film. I am excited for his latest feature film "The Barber of Siberia" to come out on video. Until then, I will watch this one over and over again, always learning something new and interesting each time.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars history through a child's eyes May 19, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
In 1980, director Nikita Mikhalkov ("Burnt by the Sun") began filming a clandestine home-movie of his six-year-old daughter Anna. By asking her the same five questions every year for thirteen years, and juxtaposing her answers against a collage of Soviet historical events, Mikhalkov reveals the effects of propaganda and patriotic fervor on the developing mind of a child. Little Anna's greatest fear, Baba Yaga the Witch of fairytale, is replaced by the terror of American nuclear weapons she believes aimed at her home and family. As Anna matures, she begins to doubt her Soviet indoctrination and the absolute "truths" she trusted as a child. I feel a parallel empathy with Anna: as a "babyboomer" and quintessential "product of the sixties", I experienced a similar reevaluation of "infallible" doctrines, those of Church and Society I had once accepted without question. "Anna" is a wonderful movie, not to be missed. The rare, archival historical footage is extraordinary. The young girl is utterly charming. Mikhalkov's family portrait very gently challenges Western stereotypes about the Russian people.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple and sweet June 5, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
Sometimes, it is the simplest, sweetest things in life that have the most impact on one's psyche. As a student of international relations, my focus is Russia and Eastern Europe. This film is not a piece filled with overly-artistic, distracting elements. It is a simple piece on the life of a young girl, growing up under Soviet rule, who later experiences the demise of what she was she was taught to love.
Perhaps it is compelling because the film is set at a time in which I can personally remember these events. As a young girl, a slight bit younger than Anna, I can relate to Anna's story, albeit from a different perspective, that makes this film so enticing.
It is an interesting look into the life of a family under Soviet rule, and its demise. It paints an image of life that is unforgettable and undeniably interesting. It is truly a gift to be able to peer into someone's personal experience under something so callous and cold as the Soviet rule. This film is a combination of documentary and film , brilliantly combined to exoke myriad emotions.
Do not expect too much from this work and you can see the masterpiece that it is. Anna is truly an enjoyable film, even for those not specifically intrigued with Russian culture. Enjoy.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE WORLD THROUGH THE EYES OF A CHILD... March 26, 2001
By EriKa
Format:VHS Tape
This film was quite an interesting exercise although it is by no means a conventional film. Acclaimed Russian film director Nikita Mikhalkov filmed his own daughter, Anna, at various intervals in her young life (between the ages of 6 and 18) and asked her the same series of questions. Of course, the concept has been tried before with the Seven-Up documentary series, but this was somehow a more personal operation and also a riskier one. In the Soviet Union it was forbidden to take home movies with the aid of film and camera crews, but these crews risked helping Mikhalkov film. At one point some of the footage was even confiscated, but eventually the completed film was released. Anna was a charming little girl, and you can see how she changes and how her thoughts and concerns change. As a child she is scared, for example, of childish things. Later in life she becomes more guarded, more shy, and she cares about far more in depth issues. In a way it is an examination of the loss of naivete and innocence, and in that sense, the film is quite sad. But it is a beautiful picture, and it will be worth watching.
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