The new film by Slava Tsukerman starring Academy Award ®
Winner F. Murrray Abraham, Sam Robards, Oksana Stashenko, Jicky Shnee and Ally Sheedy as Helen.
Moscow. 1992. Astrophysicist Sasha Greenberg, (Sam Robards,) returns after emigrating to the US 17 years earlier. Formerly branded a traitor by the government, he is now seen as a hero. The period of “Perestroika” (restructuring) has turned everything upside down.
Old friends who had no choice but to denounce him now welcome him with open arms. Painful memories of anti Semitism return to haunt him. A former colleague and lover introduces him to a fiery young girl who may be his daughter.
The entire society is in upheaval. Vodka is rationed. Old people can barely feed themselves. Films of polluted seas, rivers on fire, and dying forests, are seeing the light of day for the first time. People are saying things in public that formerly would have sent them to prison. Many expect Civil War. At the same time a new breed of entrepreneurs are born.
In the midst of all this turmoil Sasha is expected to deliver a theory that makes sense of our universe. His wily but supportive mentor, Gross, (F. Murray Abraham) counsels Sasha to continue along his path, to ride out his personal and professional problems.
“Perestroika” is the latest narrative feature from storied writer/director Slava Tsukerman, the director of the cult classic “Liquid Sky,” and the critically acclaimed documentary, “Stalin’s Wife.”
“Perestroika” is a fictional look at a period that addresses much that is going on right now. But it is also a semi autobiographical recounting of Mr. Tsukerman’s own return to Russia during “Perestroika.” In his youth Tsukerman was among the first Jews to be admitted to the Moscow Film School. Almost twenty years before Russia’s “restructuring” he managed to emigrate to Israel, and then the US, where he made a huge splash with “Liquid Sky.” In writing “Perestroika” he called on much of his own experience.
“Slava Tsukerman's Perestroika is a genuine cinematic tour de force: ironic and sad, loving, provocative, thoughtful, and often hauntingly beautiful. Tsukerman has managed to capture the atmosphere of a unique moment in history, when Soviet civilization imploded and the Western world triumphed - or so it seemed.
But Tsukerman's film is only on the surface about politics and history. In essence, it is a deep reflection about mankind's current state, its metaphysical, indeed cosmic confusion and inability to come to terms with catastrophically fast changes - the new global transformation (another perestroika, so to speak) of which we all are part and of which we do not know the outcome. Tsukerman's film maintains a level of intellectual intensity that is rarely found in today's cinema. At the same time, Perestroika has warmth and humanity, as well as erotic vibrations; it is also a film about men and women, their attraction to each other and their all-too brief periods of mutual understanding.”
Dr. Peter Rollberg, Director, George Washington University Film Studies Program
Chair, Department of Romance, German, and Slavic Languages and Literatures