My Perestroika (My Perestroika)
World Panorama - Doha Tribecca Film Festival 2010
Robin Hessman's documentary about changes in modern Russia focuses on five adults who grew up together as classmates and who now represent the last generation of Soviets growing up behind the Iron Curtain. Using a simple yet effective interviewing style, Hessman allows her subjects to freely reminisce about their Communist-influenced youth during the highly conformist 1970's, through the USSR collapse of the 1990's, right up to the ambiguous conditions today. Employing vintage family home movies and newer footage shot over the past five years, the transition to adulthood may recall Michael Apted's series of "Up" films following a group of British youths, yet Hessman's work delivers a far stronger geopolitical punch. Here we meet a couple of married schoolteachers, a highly successful clothing retailer, a former punk rocker, and a woman who, once considered to be the prettiest girl in school, now lives a humble existence below the poverty level. Their stories demonstrate just how the history of a country may sometimes be best defined by the lives of its average people rather than the machinations of its powerful leaders.
About the Director
Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Hessman graduated from Brown University with Russian and film degrees, and earned her graduate degree in directing from the All-Russian State Institute of Cinematography in Moscow. She shared a student Academy Award in 1994 for a short documentary film, "Portrait of Boy with Dog." "My Perestroika" is her feature debut.
- Robin Hessman
- Robin Hessman, Rachel Wexler
- Alla Kovgan, Garret Savage
- Lev "Ljova" Zhurbin
- Robin Hessman