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Anna Politkovskaya was one of the most diligent reporters on corruption in modern-day Russia, particularly when it came to human-rights abuses in Chechnya. So it’s easy to read her murder on Oct. 7, 2006, as a political assassination, and most of the interviewees in Letter to Anna are perfectly comfortable fingering Vladimir Putin as all but the trigger man. Director Eric Bergkraut filmed Politkovskaya on a handful of occasions in 2003, and her tone is somber but genial, even as she discusses harrowing experiences covering the bloody Beslan and Moscow theater sieges for the Novaya Gazeta. Plenty of emotions bubbled under, though, and coworkers and family paint a picture of a ferociously intense person. (Her husband speaks about occasionally dreading to come home at night because “it’s impossible to live on top of a volcano.”) Narrated by Susan Sarandon, the film wisely explores Politkovskaya’s crucial roles in covering Putin’s Russia without indulging the hagiography that her death inspired, though Bergkraut does break in with the occasional overheated voice-over. “Anna, where did you get your courage from?” he muses, as if any viewer wouldn’t think to ask. —MA