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14

THURSDAY

People in the Soviet Union of the early ’60s were still suffering from Stalin’s iron-fisted reign even though the dictator had been dead since 1953. And even though the ham-and-egger premier of the day, Nikita Khrushchev, had the relative laxness of a substitute teacher, it was still impossible for the Soviets to escape the pervasively grim bureaucracy of the state. Vivian Ostrovsky, in her sprightly new film, Nikita Kino, captures the slump-shouldered zeitgeist of the Khrushchev era. Ostrovsky and her family emigrated from Russia to the sunny climes of Rio de Janeiro to escape the anti-Semitism of the Stalin regime. But once her father found out that his siblings still remained in Moscow, they began annual visits to their homeland. Through a montage of family home movies, Soviet cinema, and government propaganda, Ostrovsky educes the buoyant spirit of the Soviet people in a way I haven’t seen since the last reel of Rocky IV. It screens with Taurus at 8 p.m. at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden’s Ring Auditorium, 7th and Independence Ave. SW. Free. (202) 357-2700. (DD)