Personal perestroikas lived in communism's shadow

Stories of the wave of change that occurred during and after the fall of the USSR

A still from the film 'My Perestroika'

Viewed from America, perestroika was a huge wave of change in the Soviet Union and its Eastern European satellites, but that wave was made up of many thousands of smaller waves -- individuals whose lives and worldviews were dramatically influenced by the phenomenon.

"Growing Up in the Shadows of Communism," a program of the Center for German and European Studies and the Russian Studies Program, will be presented Monday evening, April 11, beginning at 6 p.m. in Shiffman 219. A light dinner of Russian food will be served.

The program features a screening of the film "My Perestroika" and a short presentation by the film director Robin Hessman. The screening, which is open only to Brandeis students, will be followed by a panel discussion with Feruza Aripova, a staff member of the ESL and Gateway Scholars programs; Irina Dubinina, director of the Russian Language Program, and Sabine Von Mering, director of the Center for German and European Studies.

"My Perestroika" follows five ordinary Russians living in extraordinary times -- from their sheltered Soviet childhood, to the collapse of the Soviet Union during their teenage years, to the constantly shifting political landscape of post-Soviet Russia. Together, these childhood classmates paint a complex picture of the dreams and disillusionment of those raised behind the Iron Curtain."

Both Dubinina and Aripova grew up in the USSR and personally lived through events described in the documentary.

Robin Hessman, the film director, graduated from Brown University with a dual degree in Russian and Film. She also received a graduate degree in film directing from the All-Russian State Institute of Cinematography (VGIK) in Moscow. She received an Academy Award in 1994 - with co-director James Longley - for their student film, "Portrait of Boy with Dog."

Hessman is also an associate of Harvard University's Davis Center for Russian Studies and a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Since 2006, she has served as the director of documentary programming for Amfest, the American Film Festival in Moscow 

Categories: Humanities and Social Sciences, International Affairs

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