Khodorkovsky doc to premiere at Film Forum

Last Updated: April 19, 2014By Tags: ,

Who doesn’t love a good documentary about tax and embezzlement charges? If nothing else, we’ve become a savvy crowd what with the glut of famous (and famously fallen) financial tycoons of late. We should call this decade “Scoundrels at the gate.” And yet, this particular story is not entirely as it seems.

Mikhail Khodorkovsky was once the richest man in Russia, yet, today he’s one of the world’s most famous political prisoners. This new documentary about his life by filmmaker Cyril Tuschi (no, you haven’t heard his name before) is a story of Shakespearean proportions, as is often the case with financier-related narratives.

The New York Times has reported on Khodorkovsky in both its news and op-ed pages. Joe Nocera (June 4, 2011) writes: “Over the past six months, I’ve written three columns about Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former Russian oligarch who has been in prison since 2003, charged, tried, convicted—and recently reconvicted—on transparently bogus tax and embezzlement charges […] His real crime, after all, was challenging Vladimir Putin, the Russian strongman. More importantly, Khodorkovsky’s fate stands as a powerful illustration of Russia’s biggest problem: the contempt the country’s corrupt rulers have for the rule of law.”

Filmmaker Tuschi weaves together fascinating interviews with his subject (at times sitting in a glass box in the courtroom, mostly sitting inside a cell, with the camera set up on the other side), members of his family, former business associates, and others to portray a country transformed from its moribund Communist past to one in which power-hungry politicians are abetted by a corrupt and cynical bureaucracy. Stark black-and-white animated sequences help tell an amazing back-story that plays like a political thriller.

KHODORKOVSKY will premiere at New York’s Film Forum on November 30.

SEE MORE: The Guardian’s article about “Khodorkovsky” being a big hit at the last Berlinale.

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