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Ischeznuvshaya Imperiya (Vanished Empire) Reviews

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G. Allen Johnson
San Francisco Chronicle
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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 Source: San Francisco Chronicle | Original Score: 3/4

October 23, 2009
Robert Abele
Los Angeles Times
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A nicely turned film about the crushing inevitability of change.

Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times | Original Score: 4/5

September 25, 2009
J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
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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

Full Review Source: Chicago Reader

August 20, 2009
Elizabeth Weitzman
New York Daily News
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Evocative period details and persuasive performances lend a poignant sadness to Karen Shakhnazarov's familiar, but well-told, coming-of-age tale.

Full Review Source: New York Daily News | Original Score: 3/5

July 10, 2009
V.A. Musetto
New York Post
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[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 Source: New York Post | Original Score: 3/4

July 10, 2009
Daniel Eagan
Film Journal International

Bland look at rebellious teens who experience the last days of the Soviet empire.

Full Review Source: Film Journal International

July 10, 2009
Stephen Holden
New York Times
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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

July 10, 2009
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Spirituality and Practice

A Russian film about a self-absorbed youth who is driven by an insatiable yearning to have whatever he wants.

Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice | Original Score: 3/5

July 9, 2009
Kevin Lee
Time Out New York
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The moralistic finale feels tacked on to the vivid celebration of Commie teen lust.

Full Review Source: Time Out New York | Original Score: 2/5

July 8, 2009
Vadim Rizov
Village Voice
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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.

Full Review Source: Village Voice

July 8, 2009
Ronnie Scheib
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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.

Full Review Source: Variety

July 7, 2009
Bill Weber
Slant Magazine

The lost-world aura of the film's clumsy youths provides an inexorable dig into Brezhnev-era diffidence.

Full Review Source: Slant Magazine | Original Score: 2.5/4

July 3, 2009
Richard Kuipers
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January 7, 2012

Hollywood Reporter
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July 16, 2009
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