Refusenik (2008) - Rotten Tomatoes

Refusenik (2008)




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Historically speaking, documentarist Laura Bialis' nonfiction effort Refusenik marks one of the first cinematic attempts to chronicle the decades-long liberation of Soviet Jews, from the early years of the 20th century through the end of the Cold War. Drawing from archival footage and extended interviews, Bialis documents the process by which a regionally oriented, grassroots social-activist movement ultimately ballooned into as massive, transcontinental human-rights crusade. By shining a light on the activists who risked their safety (and, in some cases, their lives) -- many enduring hellish years in Gulag labor camps -- Bialis' film explores the concepts of martyrdom and self-sacrifice, even as the director carefully defines a broader socio-historical progression.more
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Documentary, Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By: Laura Bialis, Laura Bialis
In Theaters:
Resonance Media - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Refusenik

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (12)

One credits their naivete as the best tool to change history, as, because of it, they refused to cave in to excuse-making politicians and initial indifference in the Jewish-American community.

Full Review… | October 18, 2008
Top Critic

There are fascinating archival clips that show rare glimpses of early years of struggle behind the Iron Curtain, while the story eventually moves through such momentous footage as the Helsinki Accords and the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Full Review… | June 19, 2008
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

The result is a documentary that plays like a fat, satisfying work of nonfiction literature -- the final word because it seems to contain every word.

Full Review… | May 30, 2008
Boston Globe
Top Critic

Packed with an extraordinary amount of archival material, the film offers a fascinating, if occasionally dense look at a grass-roots movement that became the world's chance to retroactively fight Hitler's Holocaust.

Full Review… | May 23, 2008
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

[An] absorbing portrait of the refusenik movement of the 1960s and '70s.

Full Review… | May 22, 2008
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic

Refusenik falls short as entertainment because of the plodding, overly studious approach of the director, Laura Bialis.

Full Review… | May 9, 2008
New York Times
Top Critic

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