Russia takes centerstage in three films showing at Nebraska’s Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center.
Two new films opening May 24 explore the careers of iconic Russians Mikhail Gorbachev and Rudolf Nureyev. Also, extended for another week, is “Red Joan,” which examines the true story of the Soviet Union’s longest-serving British spy.
Featuring archive materials, “Meeting Gorbachev” is a documentary based on three long interviews between the former general secretary of the U.S.S.R. and filmmaker Werner Herzog.
Now 87 and battling illness, Gorbachev has mellowed, but remains resolute in pursuit of his goals. During the interviews, Herzog celebrates the Russian statesman’s three top accomplishments: negotiations with the United States to reduce nuclear weapons; cessation of Soviet control of eastern Europe and the reunification of Germany; and the dissolution of the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc.
Directed by Herzog and André Singer, “Meeting Gorbachev” is not rated and shows through May 30.
Directed by Ralph Finnes, “The White Crow” tells the true story of how Nureyev — a legendary Russian ballet dancer — contemplates defection on his first trip outside of the Soviet Union.
Set in 1961, a 21-year-old Nureyev is traveling with the Kirov Ballet Company from St. Petersburg to Paris. Not yet the imperious figure of legend, Nureyev (played by Oleg Ivenko) is delighted by Parisian life and wants to consume all the culture, art and music the city has to offer.
His every moment is documented by KGB officers who become increasingly suspicious of the dancer’s behavior and — especially — a friendship with Clara Saint, a young Parisienne.
When the officers confront Nureyev, they force him to make a heart-breaking decision that may change the course of his life forever and put his family and friends in danger.
“The White Crow,” rated R for some sexuality, graphic nudity and language, shows through June 6.
Based on the best-selling novel by Jennie Rooney, “Red Joan” stars Judi Dench as KGB operative Joan Stanley. After retiring in the suburbs, Stanley is arrested by the British Secret Service for her former work providing classified information on the atom bomb to the Soviet government.
As Stanley is interrogated, the film explores her life story, including how she quietly changed history through her decades-long role as a spy.
“Red Joan,” which is rated R for brief sexuality and nudity, plays through May 30.
For more information, including showtimes, call 402-472-5353 or visit the Ross website.