http://cdn.itvs.org/my_perestroika-background.jpg
  • Lives of 5 Russians spanning from Soviet childhoods to fall of USSR and into the new Russia.

    Lives of 5 Russians spanning from Soviet childhoods to fall of USSR and into the new Russia.

    http://cdn.itvs.org/my_perestroika-promo.jpgmp4:my_perestroika-promo-1024.mov
  • Lyuba and son Mark watching an old Soviet movie on TV

    Lyuba and son Mark watching an old Soviet movie on TV

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  • Olga smoking in her kitchen in Moscow

    Olga smoking in her kitchen in Moscow

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  • Andrei at the grand opening of one of his new stores in Moscow

    Andrei at the grand opening of one of his new stores in Moscow

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  • Borya and Mark watching home movies of Borya’s childhood during the 1970s in the USSR

    Borya and Mark watching home movies of Borya’s childhood during the 1970s in the USSR

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  • Lyuba, taking a break during a long day of teaching

    Lyuba, taking a break during a long day of teaching

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  • Ruslan, playing the banjo in an underground passageway

    Ruslan, playing the banjo in an underground passageway

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  • Girls performing at school assembly, Moscow, late 1970s

    Girls performing at school assembly, Moscow, late 1970s

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  • Children on Red Square during parade, 1977

    Children on Red Square during parade, 1977

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  • Robin Hessman, Director / Producer / Cinematographer

    Robin Hessman, Director / Producer / Cinematographer

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The Film

My Perestroika follows five ordinary Russians living in extraordinary times — from their sheltered Soviet childhood, to the collapse of the Soviet Union during their teenage years, to the constantly shifting political landscape of post-Soviet Russia. Together, these childhood classmates paint a complex picture of the dreams and disillusionments of those raised behind the Iron Curtain.

Borya and Lyuba are married history teachers who work at a Moscow school. But they had two very different Soviet childhoods: Lyuba was a conformist who would salute the TV when the Soviet hymn played, while Borya, living with the consequences of being Jewish, preferred to subvert the system whenever possible.

Andrei has thrived in the new Russian capitalism and has just opened his 17th store of expensive French men’s shirts.

Olga, the prettiest girl in the class, is a single mother and works for a company that rents out billiard tables to bars and clubs all over Moscow.

Ruslan was a famous Russian punk rock musician who now plays the banjo in the metro for money.

At first glance, in today’s Russia, everything is different from the lives these young people would have lived in the USSR. They are the invisible “ordinary” people of Moscow — raising their own children in a world they couldn’t have imagined in their wildest dreams. But have those changes ultimately proved to be only superficial?

The film includes rare home movie footage from the 1970s and 1980s in the USSR, along with official Soviet propaganda films that surrounded them at the time. Their memories and opinions sometimes complement each other and sometimes contradict each other, but together they paint a complex picture of the challenges, dreams, and disillusionment of this generation in Moscow today.

The Filmmakers

  1. Robin HessmanProducer/Director
  2. Rachel WexlerProducer