Ischeznuvshaya Imperiya (Vanished Empire) (2008)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Ischeznuvshaya Imperiya (Vanished Empire) Photos

Movie Info

Love and youthful idealism are both put to the test as the Soviet Union begins to crumble in this drama from director Karen Shakhnazarov. In the early '70s, Sergei (Alexander Lyapin) is a Russian college student who proudly describes himself as a dissident, telling anyone who cares to listen that he wants to help bring democracy to the Soviet Union. Sergei's confident, outspoken manner has made him quite popular with the women on campus, much to the chagrin of his close friend Stepan (Yegor Baranovsky), who shares his political views but not his social skills. Sergei is dating Lyuda (Lidiya Milyuzina), one of the most beautiful girls at the university, but while he loves her he doesn't always appreciate how special she is. Stepan, however, is immediately smitten with Lyuda, and loves her from afar while Sergei's headstrong nature and thirst for alcohol threaten to jeopardize his opportunities. Sergei, Lyuda, and Stepan are entering adulthood at a time when the Soviet Union is in a state of flux -- young people are embracing the trappings of the West, their grandparents are trying to hold on to scraps of the culture that was lost in the revolution, and their country is headed for a future far different than what either side can imagine. Ischeznuvshaya Imperiya (aka The Vanished Empire) received its North American premiere at the 2008 Montreal World Film Festival.
Art House & International , Drama , Romance
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Kino International

Watch it now


Vladimir Ilyin
as Stepan Molodtsov
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Ischeznuvshaya Imperiya (Vanished Empire)

All Critics (12) | Top Critics (9)

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | January 6, 2012
Top Critic

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… | October 22, 2009
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

A nicely turned film about the crushing inevitability of change.

Full Review… | September 24, 2009
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

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… | August 20, 2009
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

July 15, 2009
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

Evocative period details and persuasive performances lend a poignant sadness to Karen Shakhnazarov's familiar, but well-told, coming-of-age tale.

Full Review… | July 10, 2009
New York Daily News
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Ischeznuvshaya Imperiya (Vanished Empire)

A coming-of-age drama set in '70's Russia. The movie is shot in retro style, giving it a feel of a '70's movie. It recreates the atmosphere of the times more or less accurately, but the main characters were not your typical youth - these kids are elite, from rich and well-tot-do families (by Soviet standards of the time that is). It's not obvious to a casual viewer that average young people's lives weren't nearly as good, even in Moscow.

Gabriel Knight
Gabriel Knight

"??????????? ???????" (Vanished Empire) is a movie about the decay of Soviet Union that comes from the younger generation of the empire itself. I find it unique because unlike other Cold War era movies about Soviet Union, there is none of those "political" scenes which infest other USSR movies such as detaining of citizens by police, or secret spy showing up suddenly. Though the movie barely shows the political repression during the 1970s era (it is a coming-of-age drama, after all), in the whole the director Shakhnazarov shows how, beneath all those repression, there is a decaying of old values that comes gradually due to newer generations embracing new ideals of the West. Eventually, just like the Ancient Khwarezm Empire, this empire built on shaky foundations would simply...vanish.

Thomas Andrikus
Thomas Andrikus

Discussion Forum

Discuss Ischeznuvshaya Imperiya (Vanished Empire) on our Movie forum!

News & Features