Ischeznuvshaya Imperiya (Vanished Empire) (2008) - Rotten Tomatoes

Ischeznuvshaya Imperiya (Vanished Empire) (2008)

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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.

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Cast

Vladimir Ilyin
as Stepan Molodtsov
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Critic Reviews for Ischeznuvshaya Imperiya (Vanished Empire)

All Critics (12) | Top Critics (9)

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.

October 23, 2009 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

A nicely turned film about the crushing inevitability of change.

September 25, 2009 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
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

August 20, 2009 | Full Review…
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

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

July 10, 2009 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
New York Daily News
Top Critic

[Director] Shakhnazarov came of age during the Soviet Union's Communist days and brings firsthand experience to the Brezhnev-era The Vanished Empire.

July 10, 2009 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
New York Post
Top Critic

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.

July 10, 2009 | Rating: 3/5
New York Times
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