The Moscow Times has a review of Letter to Anna, a new documentary by Swiss director Eric Bergkraut on the life, work, and death of Anna Politkovskaya. Bergkraut met Politkovskaya while making his award winning film Coca: The Dove From Chechnya, which chronicled the efforts of Zainap Gashaeva and other Chechen women to document human rights abuses in the North Caucuses. Letter to Anna premiered at the Hot Docs International Film Festival in Toronto last month. The director doubts that it will make it to Russia. The film features a cast of anti-Kremlin characters, including Berezovsky, Kasparov, not to mention Politkovskaya herself. Another reason Bergkraut believes that his film won’t reach Russian audiences is the fact that in one segment Politkovskaya argues that the Chechen War is “genocidal.” The Chechen War is a lot of things, many of them tragic, horrendous, and brutal, but to call it genocidal I think trivializes the real acts of genocide the world has witnessed.
At any rate, who knows if the film will make it to Russia. I can foresee a number of difficulties, many of which have nothing to do with politics. The economics of film plays no small role. Distribution, costs, audience, not to mention finding a place that will screen it make it difficult for all small films, especially documentaries, to reach potential viewers. If it does make it to Russia I’m sure the screenings will occur in one of Moscow’s many smoke filled bohemian cafes. Hell, given how hard it is for small films to find a screen, I’ll be surprised if Letter to Anna makes it to Los Angeles. Maybe I’ll get lucky.
Below is a three minute trailer for the film.