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Sundance review: "Putin's Kiss"

Review: "Putin's Kiss"

World Cinema Documentary Competition'

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Two stars

The 82-minute film by Danish native Lise Birk Pedersen documents the change of heart of Masha Drokova, a rising star in Russia's pro-Putin youth group Nashi. Once a staunch supporter of the nationalist movement that is bolstered by Vladimir Putin and his underlings, she eventually becomes close to an opposition group and contemplates changing her political loyalties. The problem with the doc, though, is that Drokova, although the centerpiece of the film, is an unlikable character whose motivations and actions are often cryptic, and the audience is unable to develop empathy for her plight. In addition, the film lacks background and context, which is troublesome when considering the reign of Putin. The film depicts him as "bad," but the film rarely attempts to delineate why. He is a controversial, to be sure, but the film contains characterizations of him, and Drokova, that are only skin-deep.

— David Burger

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