In this absorbing new documentary from the most mercurial master of the form, Werner Herzog (Grizzly Man, Cave of Forgotten Dreams), we witness Soviet politician Mikhail Gorbachev’s meteoric rise from rural Russian backwater to the position of General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Shifting between Herzog’s legendary voiceover and the filmmaker’s series of on-camera interviews with the world-famous leader, we get a blend of perspectives on the champion of “perestroika” (restructuring) and “glasnost” (openness), who managed genuine arms reductions in his Reykjavík meetings with Ronald Reagan, before being overthrown in a military coup that soon gave way to the country’s democratization. For Herzog, Gorbachev is both a hero for his passive role in German reunification, and a tragic figure as he lives out his last days grieving his long-deceased wife. Meeting Gorbachev is a one-of-kind document and key new piece of Cold War history.
Director Werner Herzog and André Singer | 2018 | In English, Russian, German, and Polish with English subtitles | 90 minutes | NR | DCP