Frame from Marina Goldovskaya's film "A Bitter Taste of Freedom"

13 December 2011, 22:00

Film "A Bitter Taste of Freedom" screened in Moscow is based on unique materials, shot during Anna Politkovskaya's life

On December 8, in Moscow, the conference hall of the office of "Memorial" at No. 5 Karetny Lane made a show of the film by the well-known documentary filmmaker Marina Goldovskaya "A Bitter Taste of Freedom", dedicated to Anna Politkovskaya, the observer of the "Novaya Gazeta". The film contains unique documentary footage shot during several years of the journalist's life.

Let us remind you that the first show of the documentary "A Bitter Taste of Freedom" with the full house was held on August 19 in Manhattan during the 15th of New York Week of Documentaries.

Before the screening, Alexander Cherkasov, a board member of the Human Rights Centre (HRC) "Memorial", introduced Marina Goldovskaya, author of the film, screenwriter, director and cameraperson.

Marina Goldovskaya told the audience that she met Anna Politkovskaya, when in the early 1990s she was making her "The Taste of Freedom". The documentary told about the family of Alexander Politkovskiy (Anna was Alexander's wife), one of the authors of the then popular TV programme "Vzglyad" (Outlook).

"Many different films have been made about Anna; however, nobody had such materials about her, because nobody shot her so much over these years as I did. I filmed her during her life, while other films were made after her death. Then, when the material was formed, I filmed her children, friends and not quite friends. Then, this documentary turned out," said the director.

The film, which, according to the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent, kept the audience on the stretch for an hour, Anna Politkovskaya argues on what had forced her to constantly raise the issue of war, and the people who had been victims of the war. According to her stories, narrated from the screen, initially she wrote about flows of refugees; and then the situation captured her.

What Anna Politkovskaya had looked like in her life, is narrated by her family members, as well as the journalists Yuri Rost and Alla Bossart, rights defender Svetlana Gannushkina, and her school friends.

"When such people die, we understand that they are our conscience," said one of them.

In the opinion of the writer and journalist Dmitry Bykov, who was also interviewed by Marina Goldovskaya, the articles written by Anna embodied the viewpoint of the person, who was highly piqued by what had happened in Chechnya.

After the film, the audience was addressed by Oleg Khlebnikov, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the "Novaya Gazeta". Having noted the merits of the documentary and thanked the author for her work, he said that for him the day of October 7, 2006, when Anna Politkovskaya was shot dead, is the worst day of his life. "It was Saturday, and we were preparing the next paper issue, where Ann had claimed her material. But the time went by - and we received no material and no call from her. I began calling on her mobile phone. It turned out that I was calling right at the time when she was murdered," said Khlebnikov.

According to Oleg Orlov, Chairman of the Board of the HRC "Memorial", the film is about a unique person, a brave and honest woman. However, as Mr Orlov said, he was ambiguous about the documentary. In particular, he said that the material and facts that Anna had received and used in her articles were delivered to her by the lawyer Stanislav Markelov and human rights defender Natalia Estemirova, who later were also killed, "but they remained in the shadow."

The "Caucasian Knot" correspondent was informed by the author of the film that when one makes a film "it is impossible to take everything into account." However, in the opinion of Marina Goldovskaya, the fact that the film is a success and found its response from the audience was "perceived by her during the screening of the film both abroad and here in Russia." When asked of whether the work on this topic would be continued, Marina Goldovskaya answered in the negative. "It's a too hard topic. I lost part of my soul with this film," she said.

According to Eleanora Davidyan and Oksana Omarova, who were among the audience, the film should be shown to broad public, especially the youth. "It turns out that we don't know a lot of what happened in Chechnya. When you see these grieving women who lost their loved ones - both Chechens and Russians, you understand that we really need truthful and objective information," the women told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.

Let us note here that the screening of the film "A Bitter Taste of Freedom" was organized by the Society "Memorial" jointly with the Division of Culture of the US Embassy.

Author: Tatiana Gantimurova; Source: CK correspondent

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