The Soviet Story is an ambitious journey from “The Extermination of Ukrainians 32/33” (the words announced in bold, graphic-novel style—as are all the other “chapters” in the documentary) through “Preparing the New World Order” to “Soviet-SS Collaboration,” shedding light on the “real” Soviet ideology that Eastern Europe would rather sweep under the rug. Which probably accounts for the effigy of director Edvins Snore being burnt outside the Latvian embassy in Moscow by Young Russia thugs—who never bothered to see the film—upon its premiere. The most problematic aspect of Soviet Story, however, has less to do with the atrocities cataloged by talking-head dissidents and academics, with the dry archival footage and ominously toned British narrator (the director’s straightforwardly bookish and buttoned-up style making Ken Burns look like Ken Kesey) than it does with the film’s lack of an emotional connection to its audience. Basically, Soviet Story does a thorough job of laying out what happened, but its dull, educational-style format doesn’t guide us to the next step of why we should care. The tragedy isn’t that the story of Lenin and Marx advocating “class extermination,” of Stalin perpetrating mass genocide on a scale to rival that of the Nazis even while he was collaborating both with and against Hitler, hasn’t been told before. It’s that simply bringing these things to light isn’t enough—we must be given a reason to open our eyes and ears. And that story would make one hell of a doc.
- 85 min
- Edvins Snore
- Edvins Snore
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