http://imdb.com/title/tt0106290/In the Soviet Union it was forbidden to shoot home movies, but noted director Nikita Mikhalkov (who won an OscarÂ® for Burnt by the Sun) ignored that prohibition and secretly filmed his daughter Anna across a span of 13 years. Every year Mikhalkov would ask the child the same five questions, and the film from their casual interviews would be secretly processed. This intimate look at a little girl's growing consciousness became the backbone of what turned out to be a startling and brilliant documentary.
Mikhalkov happened to be surreptitiously filming his daughter during a span of time when the Soviet Union would change enormously, as Leonid Brezhnev died and his successors gradually began making changes that would lead to the dismantling of the USSR and the emergence of a new Russia. Footage of a young Anna smiling and answering her father's questions are deftly contrasted with newsreel footage of a Communist youth rally presided over by the aged Leonid Brezhnev.
At one point, as Anna gets older, she mentions her fear of "giving wrong answers," and the stifling atmosphere created by the Soviet state becomes apparent. As things begin to change profoundly in the late 1980s, a loosening society is shown, and Anna's own development into a thoughtful young woman becomes an analogue for changing attitudes in Russia itself. This film is a profound and powerful meditation on both family and nationhood, and it stands as a remarkable work of art. --Robert J. McNamara
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