State-conjured terrorism

RUSSIA: An ordinary Russian teenager was arrested and incarcerated on charges of extremism. Three years later, the fight for her innocence continues.

A sense of dread and urgency hangs over Anna Shishova’s nail-biting The New Greatness Case, which won the IDFA Forum Award for Best Rough Cut last November and is set to world premiere at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival in NYC (May 20-26). And that includes the doc’s production along with its storyline. The cut I saw the week before the film’s debut (with temp music and VO) appeared more than ready for primetime but was also a sign of the high stakes at play. With the recent invasion of Ukraine, the tale of Anya, an ordinary teenage girl in Moscow before she was abruptly arrested and jailed for attempting to bring down the Putin regime, is as terrifyingly timely as it is patently ridiculous. Add to this the fact that the Russian director and her cinematic story are now a bit too close for comfort, as Shishova-Bogolubova initially met her protagonists while making a video for the Russian human rights organization Memorial – closed and liquidated just last month. The noose is tightening for all of Russia, to say the least.

The New Greatness Case, a film by Anna Shishova-Bogolubova
The New Greatness Case, a film by Anna Shishova

Kafkaesque

Indeed, in retrospect, Anya’s Kafkaesque experience actually reads like an omen . . .

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Lauren Wissot
A US-based film critic and journalist, filmmaker and programmer.

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