Meeting Gorbachev

Certificate PG

(2018) 89 mins

Directors: Werner Herzog, André Singer
Writer: Werner Herzog
Cinematography: Yuri Burak
Music: Nicholas Singer



Werner Herzog and André Singer’s riveting documentary, filled with unforgettable archive materials and based on three long interviews, provides incredible access to, arguably, the world’s greatest living politician.

Now 87 and battling illness, the visionary Mikhail Gorbachev, former General Secretary of the U.S.S.R, has mellowed and slowed down. Still, gently but resolutely, he is pushing towards his goals. Herzog, as on-screen interviewer, does not disguise his affection, celebrating Gorbachev’s three remarkable accomplishments: negotiations with the U.S. to reduce nuclear weapons; cessation of Soviet control of Eastern Europe and the reunification of Germany; and the dissolution of the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc. All of this in six years! One German diplomat sums up Gorbachev’s approach: “The process went so quickly that … opponents were overcome by the reality of the situation.” Herzog and Singer remind us of the drastic and unforeseeable way the world changes.  From the official website

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Showings of this film are part of our Cinematheque season which is supported by the British Film Institute.


Historians of the period will learn nothing new from the movie, yet it remains a stirring enterprise, especially when it peers back, beyond the bright public record of Gorbachev’s heyday, into the mist of what feels like a distant past. When his father, Sergei, returned from the war, having at one time been reported dead, he embraced the young Mikhail and said, “We fought until we ran out of fight. That’s how you must live.” In the film, Herzog recites this unforgettable command, while dark birds fly, as if in formation, above the Gorbachev family graves.”  New Yorker

Herzog and Singer have assembled a riveting and moving portrait of Mikhail Gorbachev, the former Soviet president and arguably the greatest living politician, guided by Herzog’s mellifluous voice and gently probing interview style.”  Empire

Fri 07 Feb Wookey Hole




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