Russia 88, Pushkin House 2 March


To start off with, Ludmila Gromova (interpreted by Vitaly Yerenkov) said this was a serious film, on the border between fact and fiction, and had suffered difficulties with the authorities as Russia’s 20-year flirtation with freedom was drawing to an end.  It was of course fictional, but the interviews with people in the street and on trains were genuine…

Then they cleared off and we all shifted to the front to see the subtitles in view of the characters’ realistic mumbling.  The conceit was that a group of Moscow skinheads were making videos to advertise their ultra-nationalist views with the help of their Jewish pal who had the equipment.  And they really didn’t convince me.  Being a Russian fascist seemed to involve hanging around with your mates and beating up people you didn’t like the look of, rather like the Scouts when I was young.  It is hard to express how short a time that lot would have lasted on the streets of South London, even with a rather more extensive selection of weapons.


Then at the end the protagonist Sasha killed his sister’s Caucasian boyfriend and she killed himself and then he killed himself.  I don’t think that kind of deathbound nihilism is going to discourage misguided young men somehow…

Oh yes, H is the 8th letter of (the Latin alphabet), so 88 = HH = Heil Hitler, but you knew that anyway…

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