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They grew up behind the Iron Curtain and as college students watched it fall. Childhood classmates Borya, Lyuba, Ruslan, Olga, and Andrei were among the first generation of Russians to begin their careers in a capitalist society, free to make all the money they could. My Perestroika contrasts contemporary interviews with footage from the ’70s and ’80s, giving us glimpses of present-day cynicism as well as unskeptical Soviet idealism. The classmates have acclimated to Western ways with varying success. Borya and Lyuba, now married, make modest livings as teachers but seem fulfilled. Ruslan, a former punk rocker, is still living at society’s fringes. Olga, at 40, is living with her sister and their children in the same apartment they grew up in; she works an uninspiring job at a pool-table company. Andrei is an entrepreneur and the most financially successful: He notes his job wouldn’t have been possible under Communism. Still, as the classmates discuss their disillusionment with Russia’s 2008 elections—and their impression that President Dmitry Medvedev is a puppet of his predecessor, Vladimir Putin—the film cannily suggests that Russia hasn’t changed as much as we think.
At 6:30 p.m. at AFI Silver Theater 3; also on Saturday, June 26, at 1:30 p.m. at AFI Silver Theater 2.