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Putin’s Russia: A 21st Century Film Mosaic

Jun 15 — Jul 22, 2018

At midnight on New Year’s Eve in 1999, at the turn of the century and the dawn of a new millennium, Boris Yeltsin suddenly resigned as president of the Russian Federation, naming his recently appointed Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, as his successor. Nineteen years, four American presidents, multiple wars, various economic booms and busts, countless protests, crackdowns, and incursions later, Putin is still in charge. And in the wake of alleged entanglements in the U.S. presidential election, and with billions of eyes trained on Russian stadiums during the World Cup over the next month, he has proven enduringly adept at dominating the news cycle. But what about the country and culture he has led and shaped for nearly two decades?

In the years since that decisive handoff, filmmakers within and without the country have gone beyond the headlines to capture, narrate, riff on, and comment upon life in contemporary Russia. This series strives to offer an appropriately broad, prismatic view of contemporary Russia through films released from 2000 to 2018. It encompasses everything from crime thrillers to absurdist comedies, coming-of-age dramas to dystopic science fiction, populist blockbusters to muckraking documentaries. It features internationally renowned auteurs such as Alexander Sokurov and Andrey Zvyagintsev, as well as artists and films new to U.S. audiences (including several U.S. and New York premieres); and incorporates invaluable contributions from filmmakers hailing from the former Soviet bloc and beyond. Though the series highlights some of this century’s best films, it is not intended to be a best-of survey, but rather aims to gather a wide array of films offering invaluable and insightful perspectives on 21st century Russian life, culture, politics, preoccupations, and values.

Organized by Eric Hynes (Curator of Film, Museum of the Moving Image) and guest curator Daniel Witkin.

Presented with support from the Harriman Institute for Russian, Eurasian, and East European Studies.