Thirty years after the collapse of the USSR, the martial rhetoric and other trappings of the "strong men" of the totalitarian era are making a comeback. Why? The film's director Ivo Briedis and the journalist Rita Rudusa were both born in the Soviet Union. Together, they embark on a journey to explore the phenomenon of HOMO SOVIETICUS. They want to know if a totalitarian mindset can still be found in countries that were formerly part of the Soviet Union. The thinker Alexander Zinoviev defined as Homo Sovieticus as a person who is, at their core, an opportunist. They do not rebel against their leadership, and want to take as little individual responsibility as possible. Did these characteristics develop specifically as a result of growing up in the Soviet Union, or can they develop in any society? To find out, they speak with people who lived under the Soviet regime, as well as with members of the first post-Soviet generation.
A collection of expertly photographed scenes of human life and religion. Baraka is a documentary film with no narrative or voice-over. It explores themes via a compilation of natural events, life, human activities and technological phenomena shot in 24 countries on six continents over a 14-month period.
1992 • People
The extraordinary and dramatic story of Gertrude Bell, the most powerful woman in the British Empire in her day. She shaped the modern Middle East after World War I in ways that still reverberate today. More influential than her friend and colleague Lawrence of Arabia, Bell helped draw the borders of Iraq and established the Iraq Museum. Using never-seen-before footage of the region, the film chronicles Bell's extraordinary journey into both the uncharted Arabian desert and the inner sanctum of British male colonial power. With unique access to documents from the Iraq National Library and Archive and Gertrude Bell's own 1,600 letters, the story is told entirely in the words of the players of the day, excerpted verbatim from intimate letters, private diaries and secret communiques. It is a unique look at both a remarkable woman and the tangled history of Iraq.
2017 • People
How did a poor boy from a tiny flat in St Petersburg become one of the world's most powerful leaders? Admired by Trump and feared by his rivals, on the eve of his almost certain re-election as president of Russia, this film reveals the story of Vladimir Putin's extraordinary rise to power - from a lowly KGB colonel to Boris Yeltsin's right-hand man and ultimately his successor. There are revelations from Putin's inner circle at the Kremlin, including former confidante Sergei Pugachev, who helped Putin to power before falling from favour. Chess master Gary Kasparov recounts his failed attempt to stand against him and oligarch Mikhail Khordokovsky, who was jailed and stripped of his wealth, speaks of the consequences of experiencing the wrath of Putin. The programme also hears from former home secretary Jack Straw, who recalls Putin's first encounter with Tony Blair - the leader Putin apparently attempted to model himself on. Straw wryly observes that the two are 'very similar'. Former foreign secretary William Hague entertained Putin during the London 2012 Olympic Games and bonded over a shared love of judo - but later found himself unable to influence the decision made to invade Crimea.
2018 • People