Meeting Gorbachev at Real Art Ways

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Meeting Gorbachev

Directed by Werner Herzog (Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Grizzly Man, Fitzcarraldo) & André Singer

The documentary, filled with 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.

"Herzog shapes the film into a study in how world events often come down to quirks of character and circumstance. To another leader, glasnost or perestroika would not have seemed like obvious policies. A thaw might never have happened."

Ben Kenigsberg, New York Times

"What makes Meeting Gorbachev most interesting is the way we see Herzog shape the narrative through his questions, narration, and filmmaking skills."

Brian Tallerico,

"Herzog is an affable and curious interlocutor, and Gorbachev is engaged and on point, insightfully discussing his nation's past and present."

Norman Wilner, NOW Toronto