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Winter, Go Away! / Zima, otkhodi! (2012) Capsule Review FAQ
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Genre: Documentary / Politics / Russian History / Hot Docs 2013  
Visceral assembly of ground-level footage from the 2012 Russian elections, spanning protests, rallies, and mass arrests.  



Directed by:

Sofia Rodkevich, Anton Seregin, Madina Mustafina, Elena Khoreva, Anna Moiseenko, Dmitry Kubasov, Askold Kurov, Nadezhda Leonteva, Alexey Zhirayakov, and Denis Klebleev.
Screenplay by: n/a
Music by: (none)
Produced by: Marina Razbezhkina


Film Length: 79 mins.
Process / Ratio: 1.85:1
Anamorphic: n/a
Languages:  Russian Dolby Surround
Subtitles:  English
Special Features :  


Comments :  


10 graduates of a prestigious Russian film school were charged to document the lead players in Vladimir Putin’s second grasp for the Presidency in 2012, but the group soon found more dramatic value in covering the ground-level activities of voters, opposition candidates, protestors, and election apparatchiks.

Culled from hours of footage taken at various pro- and anti-Putin rallies and demonstrations, the edited sequences quickly reveal the polarizing stances, with citizens often engaged in vicious, combustible screeds and tirades. The slices of rancor are fascinating – especially since the film has since been broadcast on Russian TV – as are the arrests that followed demonstrations after Putin’s victory. A brief segment shows the arrest of Pussy Riot (themselves documented in Pussy Riot – A Punk Prayer), but viewers will be equally pricked by moments of Russian pitch black humour, and shots of almost gleeful riot police after a mass arrest.



Vladimir Putin in Deep Concentration (2012)

Screened prior to Winter, Go Away! at the 2013 Hot Docs Film Festival was Vladimir Putin in Deep Concentration (2012), a short critique of Putin’s return to power and his position as a ruling tsar, if not a manipulative power-hoarder. A narrator slowly goes through details of his ascendancy from a nondescript KGB bureaucrat to President, we’re treated to compressed montages from Putin’s 2012 inauguration ceremonies that follow the re-minted leader from marble-lined government offices to his chauffeur-driven car through Moscow streets, ultimately dropping him off at an imperial-styled palace where he walks past batches of rather uneasy supporters. Interpolated between the footage is a figure wearing a reddish Putin mask.

Looking like a rock star, Putin’s swagger is contrasted by the narrator’s cynical and ultimately dour catalogue of hard-line and brutal decrees against any rivals, but for most western audiences, the narration isn’t even necessary: the entire sequence is self-aggrandizing propaganda, right down to shots of token religious and ethnic figures to impart a sense of inclusiveness to viewers. Directors Dana O’Keefe and Sasha Kliment use classical music, and the short closes with a tacked edit of Putin paragliding with airborne water fowl, using rap music to enhance the already pompous footage.



© 2013 Mark R. Hasan

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