Ischeznuvshaya Imperiya (Vanished Empire) Reviews

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Vadim Rizov
Village Voice
Top Critic
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.

Kevin Lee
Time Out New York
Top Critic
July 8, 2009

The moralistic finale feels tacked on to the vivid celebration of Commie teen lust.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Daniel Eagan
Film Journal International
July 10, 2009

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

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
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
Stephen Holden
New York Times
Top Critic
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
Ronnie Scheib
Variety
Top Critic
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.

Robert Abele
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic
September 25, 2009

A nicely turned film about the crushing inevitability of change.

Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
Top Critic
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

V.A. Musetto
New York Post
Top Critic
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
Elizabeth Weitzman
New York Daily News
Top Critic
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
G. Allen Johnson
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic
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
Richard Kuipers
Variety
Top Critic
January 7, 2012


Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic
July 16, 2009

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