Release date:March 23, 2011
Robin Hessman's intimate and lovingly crafted portrait of the last generation of Soviet children brought up behind the Iron Curtain. When the USSR broke apart in 1991, a generation of young people faced a new realm of possibilities. Hessman's feature documentary debut tells the story of five Moscow schoolmates who went from sheltered Soviet childhoods through the hopes of Gorbachev's Glasnost (openness) and Perestroika (restructuring) to the chaos of the USSR's dissolution. Today, Borya and Lyuba are married history teachers; Olga is a single mother who works for a billiard table rental company; Ruslan, once a famous punk musician, now busks in the Moscow metro; and Andrei owns a thriving chain of menswear stores. With candor and humor, each paints a picture of the challenges, dreams and disillusionment they've faced in Russia's post-communist era. Interweaving the contemporary world with vintage home movies and Soviet propaganda footage from the era, director Hessman, who spent years living in Moscow as a film student and later as a producer on the Russian Sesame Street, reveals a Russia rarely ever seen on film, where people are frank about their lives and forthcoming about their country. Engaging, funny and positively inspiring, in "My Perestroika" politics is personal, and history progresses one day, one life at a time.