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Operation Wedding: A conversation with Anat Zalmanson-Kuznetsov

January 15, 2019 / Comments Off on Operation Wedding: A conversation with Anat Zalmanson-Kuznetsov
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Operation Wedding escape plan graphic, designed by Armands Blumbergs.

A while ago I interviewed Anat Zalmanson-Kuznetsov for an article about her award-winning documentary, Operation Wedding, still one of just a tiny handful of docs on the Soviet-Jewish immigration. It’s the story of her parents’ attempt to escape the USSR in 1970, by hijacking an empty plane and flying it across the border to Sweden.…

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People of North Korea (and the world), we are looking at you

March 6, 2013 / Comments Off on People of North Korea (and the world), we are looking at you
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Fotopedia North Korea iPad App - image collage

It’s North Korea week here on the blog (and, apparently, everywhere). Fotopedia has a fantastic series of photo apps, including this one on North Korea. It’s neatly divided into categories – Pyongyang, propaganda, women of North Korea, men of North Korea…you get the picture. I popped it open in bed a few nights ago (something…

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A joke to die for: Old communists telling Soviet jokes

July 2, 2012 /
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Soviet jokes in Hammer & Tickle by Ben Lewis

Every time you tell a joke, a dictator gets a little weaker. If you grew up in any household of former eastern European emigres, then you’re probably familiar with the very particular form of Soviet black humour. There is no North American equivalent to the anekdot – aside from the jokes that periodically make the rounds…

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Not my perestroika: Shades of might have beens

December 15, 2011 / Comments Off on Not my perestroika: Shades of might have beens
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My Perestroika documentary screenshot

Every year, on September 1, Russian children start their first day of school. All of them, en masse. And before them, it was Soviet children. My mother went to school in pinafored uniform, braids and bows in her hair, flowers in her arms. Twenty years later, a carbon copy photo of my cousin doing and…

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Refusenik Documentary Screening Part 1: Defining Moments

August 3, 2010 / Comments Off on Refusenik Documentary Screening Part 1: Defining Moments
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*This is the first in a series. Read part 2 here: Refusenik Documentary Screening Part 2: The Rescuers and the Rescued A few weeks ago, I did a film screening in Edmonton for a small group of Soviet Jews, all family friends, who I’ve previously interviewed for my project. The film is Refusenik, a documentary…

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New film: Soviet Jews in Minnesota

June 3, 2010 / Comments Off on New film: Soviet Jews in Minnesota
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Leaving aside the questionable capitalization—The American VOICES of the Soviet Jews—this new documentary from the Minnesota Soviet-Jewish community captures the stories of Soviet Jews who lived through WWII. I like that it turns the camera onto ordinary people who just happened to be born into the wrong time and place. And that after all that…

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