"Nalvany" film review

“Navalny” shows as a Fathom Event with CNN panel discussion of total suppression of dissent by Putin

Fathom Events has sponsored a two-day theatrical showing of the film “Navalny: The Man Putin Couldn’t Kill”, directed by Daniel Roher, accompanied by a videotaped discussion and QA led by CNN’s Erin Burnett. The discussion made reference to the work of Bellingcat.  (Note: at QA’s in person, audience members can usually film “legally”, but not when prerecorded and projected.)  The film was developed by Warner Brothers with HBO Max distribution as well as future CNN Films airing (date not announced).

The documentary presents part of the biography of Putin’s prior political opponent Alexei Navalny, who often appears in the film and documents his own story.

In August 2020, Navalny became very ill on a flight from Tomsk in southern Siberia.  The cause would be traced to a nerve agent poison described as a Cholinesterase inhibitor. Navalny would be treated in Germany and recuperate in a mountain resort with a pet donkey and pony.  Eventually he would deliberate his own return to Moscow by air in January 2021, and whether he would be arrested.

The last half hour of the film reenacts the flight, with a change of airport, and the crowds of protesters, and then he is carted away into custody.

Navalny does sometimes describe his previous candidacy as an attempt to open up Russian society to more individualistic values, and sees Putin’s latest idea of Russian identity as a bit made up (for example, this discussion from Germany).  Navalny is married conventionally with two daughters, and the film does not get into a side trip of LGBTQ issues, which other commentators have been describing as significant, especially in conjunction with the Russian Orthodox Church.  Both Stalinist-communist and fascist societies seem to believe that men and women need to be carefully conditioned to keep procreating while living under collective national identities tied to traditional biological responsibilities.

Wikipedia also makes a lot of Navalny’s own film “Putin’s Palace: The Story Behind the World’s Biggest Bribe” – which is rather tedious to watch on YouTube (free, 112 min).  It’s hard to see how he was able to get the access to film it from drones and indoors (and get it produced while recovering).  The place is like a little fiefdom on the mountainous shores of the Black Sea.  At the end, however, Navalny makes an interesting comparison of rich countries (people protest in mass and politicians have to listen) and poor countries (people are prohibited from protesting). Navalny says that Russia needs to have 10% of its population protest in the streets and risk (self-sacrificial) arrest;  this is the film’s best moment; also see Politico article.

Putin has apparently poisoned several parties in the UK.  In one case (2018), a few British civilians were inadvertently harmed.  In 2006, Litvenenko was poisoned by polonium in the UK.  It is conceivable that two unsolved and frankly bizarre shootings of intelligence technicians in Prince Georges County Maryland in late 2008 might have been related to Russia, but this is still speculative  (I keep expecting NBC Dateline, ABC 2020 or CBS 48 Hrs — or even CNN Special Reports —  to do this one — get to work, you guys!).

Q&A Cleveland Ohio Film Festival

Bonus: Nalvany's own film (112 min): Putin's Palace: The Story of the World's Biggest Bribe. Remember "Bribery Bridge" in Sunday school?

Picture: Wikipedia embed of Moscow, CCSA 4.0.

Name: “Navalny: The Man Putin Couldn’t Kill”  (also “Putin’s Palace”)

Director, writer: Daniel Roher, Alexei Navalny

Released: 2022

Format: 1.85:1    Russian with subtitles (mostly)

When and how viewed: Fathom, Regal Ballston Qr, 2022/4/11 at 7 PM, moderate audience; also will perform tonight 4/12 same time

Length: 98  (+ pre-recorded QA from CNN, about 35 min.)

Rating: NA   (probably R)

Companies: Warner Brothers (Independent), HBOMax, CNN Films (YouTube for ‘Putin’s Palace’)

Stars:   ****_

(Originally posted: Tuesday, April 12, 2022 at 1 PM EDT by John W. Boushka)


Posted onApril 12, 2022

CategoriesB-Movies, biography, combativeness, Communism, documentary, fascism, foreign language, historical period settings

TagsCNN Films, HBOMax, Warner Brothers

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