Saturday, May 21, 2011

My Perestroika (A)

In my review of Marvel Studio's Thor, I had trouble writing an introduction for the film simply because there really wasn't anything to write about. Now, writing a review of the new documentary My Perestroika, I am faced with the opposite problem. My Perestroika is such an absolutely genius film, I have no idea where to begin.

My Perestroika contains all elements which make up a fascinating documentary:

1. Compelling subject
2. Fascinating characters
3. A rarely mentioned topic
4. Gorgeous and surreal examples of stock footage
5. Brilliant direction

The focus of the documentary revolves around how the fall of the Soviet Union shaped the lives of five old classmates. Told through their home movies, along with interviews from the modern day, you see the drastic change the fall of the Soviet Union had on them, and also the drastic change that these classmates had on the Soviet Union. This film plays like Michael Apted's Up series if it had been summarized into one complete epic film. Though I have only two films out of Michael Apted's previously mentioned Up series, I can safely state that My Perestroika accomplishes much more than both of those films combined.

My Perestroika also deserves a praise that I doubt I've ever bestowed to a documentary before: Its soundtrack. The soundtrack to this film is absolutely spectacular, mixing Russian children's songs with 80's Soviet Era punk-rock. A bizarre combination that while in this review might sound, well, bizarre, in the context of the film it works spectacularly.

I would also like to note that this is director Robin Hessman's first feature length documentary. The fact that he was able to direct a documentary this well on his first try is an incredible accomplishment. Even though this documentary will unfortunately most likely get overlooked come time for Oscar season, Robin Hessman is now a huge director on my radar, and should be on your radar as well. Though I already said this once in this review, I believe that it's necessary to say it again: This is an absolutely genius film.

Grade: A

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