What price freedom?

A drama about the fearless Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya who was gunned down in her apartment block in downtown Moscow in October 2006 has had its world premiere in New York to a full house.

­The 90-minute feature film entitled A Bitter Taste of Freedom had a fantastic response from the audience and will be submitted for consideration for the 84th Academy Awards by the International Documentary Association.

The creator of the film is one of the most renown documentary-makers to come out of Russia, Los Angeles-based Marina Goldovskaya, whose credits include 28 award-winning productions.

The film director has known Anna Politkovskaya’s family for three decades, and her film paints an in-depth portrait of a woman who had a heart of gold and felt people’s pain more keenly than her own.

“There are people with thick skin and thin skin. Anna Politkovskaya had no skin at all. She left for the war in Chechnya and never came back,” Goldovskaya told RIA news after the film’s premiere.

A human rights activist famous for her courageous exposure of abuses during the Chechen conflict, the 48-year-old was brutally murdered on her doorstep as she was returning home from work. The crime remains unsolved.

Goldovskaya learned of Politkovskaya’s death from news bulletins, after which she received a phone call from Anna’s children who wondered if her close friend would make a film about their mother…

Goldovskaya would first spend her time watching films already made about Politkovskaya by other directors. She asked herself what she could say about her friend – “loved by some and hated by others” – that others couldn’t. In A Bitter Taste of Freedom, her heroic friend reveals how hard it is “being Anna Politkovskaya”.

“I portrayed her the way I knew her – as a tender, vulnerable woman,” Goldovskaya was quoted as saying.

“Who did I make my film for?” Goldovskaya asked herself. “First and foremost, for Russians. They can understand the soul of this woman better than anyone else. I wanted to touch the souls of people in a time of cynical pragmatism,” the director explained.

Several documentary films about Politkovskaya have been already been made, including the 2007 documentary, Anna Politkovskaya – The Last Interview – which was released in France. In 2008, another documentary, Anna – Seven Years on the Frontline, was created by a Russian director Maria Novikova, based in the Netherlands.

Leave a comment