When Bruce Chatwin was dying of AIDS, his friend Werner Herzog made a final visit. As a parting gift, Chatwin gave him his rucksack. Thirty years later, Herzog sets out on his own journey, ... See full summary »
Agnès Varda, photographer, installation artist and pioneer of the Nouvelle Vague, is an institution of French cinema. Taking a seat on a theatre stage, she uses photos and film excerpts to provide an insight into her unorthodox oeuvre.
This film is one of the most informative and interesting documentaries which I have seen. If I were to compare it to another documentary it would be like a cross between "Won't You Be My Neighbor" and "The Civil War." On the one hand it is a character study but on the other it is the story of the fall of the USSR. Through it all, we have Werner Herzog casting his own brand of eccentric existentialism over the film.
Describing the film is hard because it is someone's life story and as I found it fascinating, I would love to expound it for you. That would be tragic though as Herzog has already told the story through film and in a much better and meaningful way than I could manage.
The story of Gorbachev's life is certainly very different than I expected. I suppose part of that is because of the natural distrust Americans tend to have still in our films and TV as a remnant from the 80s. What I found out instead was that he was a very admirable man, flawed to be sure, but admirable. He had tremendous love for his country and most importantly the people of that country.
One of the most interesting parts of the film is Gorbachev's involvement in the ending of the Cold War. Herzog does a great job of showing how vital it is for world leaders to work together toward the common ends of security and life for all people. One of the great takeaways from the movie is really how terrible a force personal greed and power grabbing is when it is allowed into national politics.
As I walked out of the film I couldn't help but think how desperately short of that kind of politician or even person our world seems to be. Politicians who can learn from their mistakes and change their attitudes for the good of the people rather than for their own personal gains seem to be not so much the norm or the minority anymore. Sometimes they feel more like the extreme outliers in a world shaped more by grabbing for resources and table scrap economics for those who need help the most.
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