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This DVD is for home use only and not for use in educational settings.
When the USSR broke apart in 1991, a generation of young people faced a new realm of possibilities. An intimate epic about the extraordinary lives of this last Soviet generation, Robin Hessman's feature documentary debut tells the stories of five Moscow schoolmates who were brought up behind the Iron Curtain, witnessed the joy and confusion of glasnost, and reached adulthood right as the world changed around them. Through candid first-person testimony, revealing footage and vintage home movies, Hessman, who spent many years living in Moscow, reveals a Russia rarely seen on film, where people are frank about their lives and forthcoming about their country. Engaging, funny and positively inspiring, MY PERESTROIKA shows that politics are personal, honesty overshadows ideology and history progresses one day, one life at a time.
This New York Times Critics Pick premiered at Sundance Film Festival2010, and went on to win the Filmmaker Award at Full Frame Film Festival and the Special Jury Award at Silverdocs.
Top Customer Reviews
a] My first qualm is this: Ms. Robin Hessman -- obviously a very talented director -- doesn't challenge her Russians. She chose to be outside the film. She is an invisible presence -- only a camera. We only see and hear the Muscovites who appear to be rambling on and on and on. Ergo, when the characters say something silly or illogical there is no one to push back and ask probing questions.
b] I was struck by excessive self-pitying of my former compatriots. The position in a nutshell is this: "When we were young we believed the official ideology. Alas, this ideology was dumb. Today we struggle with the lack of ideals." For me, it's hard to take it seriously. The majority of Russians knew that the official ideology was a load of garbage, but we were willing to put up with it. This is because like so often in Russia the alternative is anarchy -- a kind of Hobbesian "state of nature". This is precisely what happened in Russia after 1991. Here are the keys to understanding of almost universal deep dislike of Gorbachev by the ordinary Russians: he unleashed the forces of chaos he couldn't control.
c] The U.S. and Russia.Read more ›
The film takes five former classmates from Moscow who are approaching their fortieth year. They were raised in an era of pure Communism and each blindly worked to become upright Soviet citizens fully accepting the dogma of their party. It's all they knew, the ritual, and it was not something that was questioned. This period is showcased through archival footage as well as old news stories and personal photographs. Upon their college years, the country entered a period of upheaval with enormous social and political changes--new freedoms interspersed with new economic challenges. As each navigated their way (quite differently) within the new Russia, they were swept up in many changes which led to the current and continuing reign of Vladimir Putin.Read more ›
The interviews are honest, humorous, insightful and haunting. To compare our world in the United States (in the mid 1960s to 1980s) with USSR is completely like comparing watermelons to apples. The propaganda we were fed of the fear of Communism, USSR's intentions with our nation, and others, versus what they were taught to believe are stark contrasts. It truly is amazing what politics and spin doctors do to divide people in our world - before and now. What a great look at a culture many of us may not know much about.
This is a very engaging and revealing documentary about the human side of Russian's transition from its Soviet past to a market-based "democracy with Russian characteristics." Through the interwoven footage of home movies, the viewer gets a good sense of how life felt to ordinary Russians on both sides of the transition. Unlike Mikhalkov's "Anna", which traces just one girl and her family through this period, MP provides a more balanced view of a range of outlooks. Again, unlike Mikhalkov, who is rarely subtle in revealing himself, in this film Hessman allows the figures to present a wide range of commentary, with no sense that she has a particular axe to grind.
Highly recommended for any students of Russia, Russian or the Soviet Union, or just anyone curious about societies in transition. The fact that the presentation is not linear, either in time or in the sequencing of segments of its Russian protagonists, makes this a bit more challenging, but definitely more engaging than many documentaries.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I had to watch this for a class, but it enjoyed it. It was fascinating and insightful.Published 15 months ago by Ana Asher
The only reason I gave it four stars and not five is because if you're not Russian who lived through some of the times that are described there, it will be difficult for you to... Read morePublished on January 3, 2014 by Irina Malkina
Great movie about recent history. The main characters were kids during the old communist regime and experienced Perestroika first hand.Published on February 14, 2013 by Asa C Nojd
The focus is too narrow - you would think there would be a broad, engaging documentary on the collapse of the Soviet Union which mercifully ended with a whimper not a bang. Read morePublished on February 3, 2013 by Jazzfan
Excellent movie. Well done; very objective; does not interpret reality but just presents it through the eyes of today's Russian citizens and old archive footage; Very honest;Published on January 14, 2013 by MISS D DAMSA
Robin Hessman's My Perestroika (2010) does not fail to shock viewers with an unexpected look at both the late Soviet era and present day Russia respectively. Read morePublished on October 31, 2012 by A. Smith