Khodorkovsky film to be screened in Moscow

A documentary about the imprisoned Russian oil tycoon, the former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky, is set to have its Russian premiere in Moscow after it played to a packed house at the Berlin Film Festival earlier this year.

­Screening of the full-length feature from the German director of Russian origin, Cyril Tuschi, almost didn’t see the light of day at the Berlin festival in when a computer containing the final edit of the film was stolen just before the German premiere.

Tuschi, who attended court hearings on the Khodorkovsky-Lebedev, took about five years to complete the film. In the course of his research, the director spoke to some 70 witnesses and collected over 180 hours of interview material, from a conversation with Joschka Fischer, Germany’s ex Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor in the cabinet of Gerhard Schroder; to Khodorkovsky’s first wife Elena; from political activists to former Yukos employees.

He was quoted as saying that he wanted to show Khodorkovsky neither “as a devil or a saint.”

“My impression of him has undergone a series of changes throughout the whole period of work, and I tried to show it in my film,” the documentary’s director explained to a media conference in Berlin.

Tuschi also said that his documentary cost a little over $500,000 and was funded by several state film development funds as well as a Bavarian state broadcaster, shaking off popular accusations that he was paid by Khodorkovsky.

It is unlikely that Russian audiences will have a chance to watch Khodorkovsky released on the big screen.

“It’s an absolutely unprecedented film and we are interested in its wide release but we understand that it’s unlikely. People can be simply afraid, some serious distributors confessed that they are afraid…” art director of the Winzavod Cinema Club, Olga Papernaya, was quoted as saying.

The documentary is set to be screened in the Russian capital on September 28 at the Winzavod cinema club.

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