Putin’s Kiss Movie Review – Toronto Human Rights Watch Film Festival 2013

Putin’s Kiss photo by Kino Lorber

Putin’s Kiss
Director: Lise Birk Pedersen
Denmark / 2012
85 min. / PG 
Seventy years after communist dictatorship and  some twenty years since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Putin’s Russia emerges as a modern super power by jettisoning the last vestiges of “communism” in favour of his democratic and capitalistic intentions. As the Kremlin-created Nashi movement, (an anti-fascist youth group) takes hold, Masha Drokova, the fast rising fresh faced 19 year old idealist with a messianic love for Putin starts to struggles as she networks up the corridors of power that slowly reveal their true intentions.  These are the issues swirling in this years opening night screening of the Human Rights Watch Film Festival’s political coming of age thriller, Putin’s Kiss
Once a firm believer in Nashi and Putin’s policies, Masha realizes Nashis true agenda is silencing all opposition parties with a special interest in independent journalist which they dub, The Enemies of Russia. The voice and struggles of independent journalist is narrated by Oleg Kuskin who along with the opposition parties just want to debate on a level playing field. Masha’s slow transition from Nashi to the independent movement doesn’t come without risks and this is where Putin’s Kiss successfully pushes a cloak and dagger agenda of suppression. A grainy security camera video of a violent beating which leaves the victim in a coma serves notice to all opposition.
Putin Kiss shows the true fractious nature and back room dealings within the pillars of today’s Russian political system. The voting process for the 5 new Nashi delegates is not for the faint of heart and harkens back to another infamous rally during prewar Germany. Masha ongoing disillusionment with the Russian political process begs the question, how much has really changed in this new era of Russian democracy when freedom of speech is suppressed?   
Review: 4 /5 Putin’s Kiss’s political Nashi movement turns cinematic nasty right before your eyes. 
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