The Hollywood Reporter, February 2015
A modern Russian hero in a doc of special interest to film lovers
A stirring account of the tribulations of the Moscow Film Museum and its
legendary director Naum Kleiman

In Cinema: A Public Affair, Russian documentarist Tatiana Brandrup chronicles the rise and fall of the Moscow Film Museum, one of the gems of the perestroika reform movement, as she paints a vibrant portrait of its legendary director Naum Kleiman. Using on-camera testimony by former museum staff and loyal film-goers like Leviathan director Andrey Zvyagintsev, interviews with Kleiman and excerpts from the film collection, this is an openly partisan account of the political decision to curb the museum’s activities. Far from investigative journalism (in fact the real reasons behind the museum’s woes are never clear), it is a celebration of a modest, inspiring cultural figure whose conviction that cinema can be used to construct a free civil society is a more contagious idea than a TED talk. This is not just a doc about an unfortunate change of staff, but a ringing alarm bell warning of the return of totalitarianism in Russia.

Der Tagesspiegel, February 2015
Director Tatiana Brandrup shot a wonderful documentary about the Moscow Cinema Museum.

RadioEins (rbb), Knut Elstermann February 2015
The film describes the life of Naum Kleiman in a wonderful way. Shot over several years, it describes the process of what has been happening – that is the best a documentary can do. …
A very complex film, conveying a lot about the role of cinema today.

Novaya Gaseta, Moscow February 2015
This film is a journey into the world of Naum Kleiman. The director asks inconvenient questions:
Why did society not protect the Cinema Museum?
What is the role of cinema today?
Can cinema help society?


Links to complete articles and further press reviews:

Thoughts on the film by Larissa Miller in the Edition Nr.6 / 22.1.2016 of the Novaya Gaseta
Russias only independent newspaper

Ending with a question mark
How our film museum was defended by German filmmakers

This is certainly not a review of the Film „ Cinema: A Public Affair“ which is dedicated to the fate of the Russian Film Museum.(Germany, Filmkantine 2015)

Watching this film is so painful that it is impossible to discuss it as a work of art.

I would simply like to share with my readers what goes on in my soul after watching this film. This is what goes on:

I remember the most diverse situations which I would like to forget, if I had the power to do so – difficult yet normal everyday episodes of our reality.

The forbidden novel „ Life and Fate“ by Wassili Grossman, the confiscation of which the author did not survive. The director Tairiv who did not survive the closure of his theater.

As Alica Koonen describes in her memoirs, he walked every day to the building which until recently had been his home.

The philosopher Gustav Spät who writhed in pain when those coming to arrest him threw his favourite books on the floor and stepped on them.

The themes blink like film frames. I have just mentioned a few well known names. But how many are completely unknown!

For example the creator oft the Caucasian nature conservation park, Christopher Georgiev Saposhnikov, who was arrested in 1937.

The secret service agents had thrown his butterfly collection of a lifetime into a carriage and led him through the street of Maykopo behind it. And he walked and cried when he saw those treasures fall into the dust . This story was told to my son by an inhabitant of Maykopo who was well acquainted with Saposhnikov.

The examples are impossible to count: Also the less bloody eras of Chrushtshov and Breshnev are well known for their prohibitions and criminal charges:

The films by Alex German put on the shelve, the insulted and exiled Michail Kalik, the paintings of Belayev destroyed by bulldozers.

This continued into the new era when personal enrichment became the main motive for the destruction of cultural treasures, the illegal privatization of buildings etc.

This is exactly what the story oft the Film Museums last years is about.

On the screen you see wonderful people, young and old.

Naum Kleiman – Eisenstein specialist, film critic, founder oft the Film Museum – (The Film Museum was founded in 1989.) Next to him are his brothers in arms – young directors, who only became directors thanks to the Film Museum, film critics, German friends of many years, colleagues who valued the unique Film Museum.

Is the term „museum“ even suitable for such an incredibly alive thing as cinema?Like every thing living, you can kill it , trample on it, destroy it.

This is exactly what those who took over power and Russia from those creating culture, are preoccupied with – just like they forced the Film Museum into exile in 2005.

Why do our co-citizens let the Film Museum go up in smoke, while Jean Luc Godard presents it a Dolby stereo installation as a gift?

Why do our co-citizens fire countless immeasurably qualified employees, while our colleagues abroad support them, give them awards and make a film about them which provokes unpleasant questions?

„What a „wonderful“ backdrop for a conversation about patriotiosm.

What did the „patriots“ achieve? The conversion of independent citizens into slavesouls without a memory. The Film Museum also means knowledge of history without which there is no future. And, as Naum Kleiman puts it, it is also a navigator in the opaque sea of information. It would be suitable to think about new possibilities which the digital era could open up for the Film Museum. Unfortunately we have to talk about something completely different, the same thing we always have to talk about: how to survive, how not to disappear, how to hold on.

Talking about the film I dont want to use professional terms like how the film was „shot and edited“. I simply want to thank those who spent their time, energy and financial means on it. And I would like to believe that the question mark after the word „The end?“ means that it is not evening yet, that there still is time to put something right, that everything still lies ahead.