Ischeznuvshaya Imperiya (Vanished Empire) Reviews

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Top Critic
G. Allen Johnson
San Francisco Chronicle
October 23, 2009
Shakhnazarov, who began his film career in the Soviet era and was about the age of his protagonists in '73, brings an authenticity to the material, as well as a certain wistfulness in his excellent re-creation of Brezhnev-era Moscow.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Robert Abele
Los Angeles Times
September 25, 2009
A nicely turned film about the crushing inevitability of change.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
August 20, 2009
In the gray old days of Brezhnev and detente, Russian college students shimmy to "Sugar, Sugar" and shell out for black-market Levis, unaware that these are the best days of their lives
Top Critic
Elizabeth Weitzman
New York Daily News
July 10, 2009
Evocative period details and persuasive performances lend a poignant sadness to Karen Shakhnazarov's familiar, but well-told, coming-of-age tale.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
V.A. Musetto
New York Post
July 10, 2009
[Director] Shakhnazarov came of age during the Soviet Union's Communist days and brings firsthand experience to the Brezhnev-era The Vanished Empire.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Daniel Eagan
Film Journal International
July 10, 2009
Bland look at rebellious teens who experience the last days of the Soviet empire.
Top Critic
Stephen Holden
New York Times
July 10, 2009
In The Vanished Empire, Mr. Shakhnazarov, a prolific and under-recognized Russian filmmaker with a surrealist touch, views the collapse of the Soviet Union as an inevitable conflation of the younger generation's natural impulse to reject the past.
| Original Score: 3/5
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Spirituality and Practice
July 9, 2009
A Russian film about a self-absorbed youth who is driven by an insatiable yearning to have whatever he wants.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Kevin Lee
Time Out
July 8, 2009
The moralistic finale feels tacked on to the vivid celebration of Commie teen lust.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
Vadim Rizov
Village Voice
July 8, 2009
The dead-end on-again, off-again courtship between Sergey and Lyuda bores, and their standard adolescent travails take up most of the screen time.
Top Critic
Ronnie Scheib
Variety
July 7, 2009
Unsentimental, almost antiheroic snapshot of a disaffected lost generation never billboards its end-of-a-civilization vibe, though that vibe does color its bittersweet nostalgia over youth wasted on the young.
Bill Weber
Slant Magazine
July 3, 2009
The lost-world aura of the film's clumsy youths provides an inexorable dig into Brezhnev-era diffidence.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Richard Kuipers
Variety
January 7, 2012
Top Critic

Hollywood Reporter
July 16, 2009
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