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'A true Soviet-era experience' is what head curator Natalya Victorovna offers visitors to the Lenin Museum, just outside Moscow.

Built on the estate where Lenin lived, worked, and died, the museum opened in 1987, just a few years before the collapse of the USSR. Die-hard Communists still come, praising 'Grandpa Lenin', but attendance has dwindled, and the museum is struggling.

LENINLAND is a verite documentary that brilliantly captures the absurdities, contradictions, and surreal moments that come with trying to maintain a shrine to the father of a political system few want to see return. A Christmas tree stands near the feet of an enormous statue of Lenin. An Orthodox church is going up next door. Reel-to-reel tapes boom information about the electrification of Russia into empty rooms. And we meet a museum employee who refers to 'Mahatma Lenin' and has developed her own philosophy, marrying Communism and Christianity.

At the heart of the film lies smartly dressed curator Victorovna, a true believer in the Communist dream and a stickler for detail. She admits to a fondness for material goods, says she could stand to have a higher salary, and argues the fine points of Marxism with co-workers.

Now, she finds herself fighting a new director who cares more about marketing than historical content, and who threatens to cancel the museum's new showpiece - an exhibit to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the founding of the USSR.

''LENINLAND is a good doc: short, absurd, indicative of how far the country has come.' - Erik Lundegaard

'It would have been easy for Askold Kurov to make fun of the museum. He does not. He brings forward the institution, lets the viewer see it, meet the ones who work there and let them take the floor. A fine choice.' - Filmkommentaren

'A funny, moving, profound view into the past, present and future of the Lenin cult. Highly recommended. - Educational Media Reviews Online


Main credits

Kurov, Askold (film director)
Kurov, Askold (film producer)
Ketkovich, Vlad (film producer)

Other credits

Camera, Alexey Strelov, Askold Kurov; editor, Kirill Sakharnov.

Docuseek2 subjects

Distributor subjects

Cultural Studies
History (World)
Museum Studies
Social Movements


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