by Jeff Niesel
A semi-autobiographical account of one man's return to Moscow in the wake of reforms, Perestroika has its local premiere tonight at 7 at the Cleveland Museum of Art as part of the Museum's "Friday Night First-Runs" series. Here's our review.
Perestroika (US, 2009) Set in Moscow in 1992, Perestroika follows astrophysicist Sasha Greenberg (Sam Robards) as he returns to the Soviet Union after living abroad for 17 years. Coming back in the wake of the fall of communism, he finds that things have changed dramatically, and he meets up with old and new flames, igniting an affair with a young filmmaker and even hooking up again with his ex-wife. He also reconnects with old friends, including a former teacher with whom he has many deeply philosophical (and rather boring) conversations. Sasha’s visit triggers a series of flashbacks as he remembers being discriminated against because he was Jewish when he was trying to get into university. Director Slava Tsukerman (Liquid Sky) drew upon his own experiences for the film’s narrative. But poor acting and shoddily constructed sets make the movie seem like the work of an amateur rather than seasoned filmmaker. The meandering plot is hard to follow, especially with all its references to advanced scientific theories and meaning-of-life-type stuff. ** (Jeff Niesel)