NOW STREAMING on OVID.tv: Vitaly Mansky’s explosive PUTIN’S WITNESSES

Putin’s Witnesses
A Film by Vitaly Mansky

“Vitaly, stop filming!” —Tatyana Yeltsin

On December 31, 1999, Russian president Boris Yeltsin went on live television just before midnight. He announced he was stepping down, and his chosen successor, Vladimir Putin, would take over as acting president. Putin promised a presidential election in three months.

Vitaly Mansky spent the evening filming his family on the eve of the new millennium. They sing and eat candies, but there is worry too. “Words fail me,” Mansky’s wife says at the prospect of Putin as president. She says he is like Mao Zedong—another dictator.

Soon after, Mansky set to work filming Putin and those around him. As a director working for Russian state TV, his purpose was making a film that would boost Putin’s electoral success.

In Putin’s Witnesses, Mansky—whose credits include the award-winning Under the Sun —looks back at that footage, including much that never made it into his PR project. 

This week on OVID, Putin’s Witnesses is joined by Vitaly Mansky’s intimate portrait of the Dalai Lama Sunrise/Sunset!
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Fannie’s Film/Killing Time
Two films by Forza Woods
 Part of the mediamaking movement that first gave centrality to the voices and experiences of African American women during the late Seventies and early Eighties, these two releases are no less groundbreaking today. Killing Time, an offbeat, wryly humorous look at the dilemma of a would-be suicide unable to find the right outfit to die in, examines the personal habits, socialization, and complexities of life that keep us going.

In Fannie’s Film, a 65-year-old cleaning woman for a professional dancers’ exercise studio performs her job while telling us in voiceover about her life, hopes, goals, and feelings. A challenge to mainstream media’s ongoing stereotypes of women of color who earn their living as domestic workers, this seemingly simple documentary achieves a quiet revolution: the expressive portrait of a fully realized individual.
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