Vlast (Power): the bigger they are, the harder they fall | Movie Review | Chicago Reader

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Vlast (Power): the bigger they are, the harder they fall

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First-time documentary makers rarely tackle a subject as dense with intrigue as the one Cathryn Collins has chosen for her debut feature: the rise and fall of Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Born to a modest family, Khodorkovsky gained wealth and power as chairman and CEO of the privatized oil company Yukos, and like a sort of Russian Bill Gates, he became a philanthropist and a champion of the democratizing power of education. In 2003 he was arrested and charged with fraud and tax evasion, and in 2005 he was sentenced to nine years in prison. But as some witnesses allege in the film, President Vladimir Putin targeted Khodorkovsky because the oil man was contriving to forge an international partnership between Yukos and a Western petroleum giant like Texaco or ExxonMobil. Collins never quite makes her way through that thicket of conspiracy, but her film is fascinating anyway for its tale of young capitalist buccaneers grabbing for resources in the postcommunist era and becoming independent power centers in a Russia still rooted to its Stalinist past. In English and subtitled Russian. 88 min. Fri 6/10, 7 and 9 PM; Sat-Sun 6/11-6/12, 3, 5, 7, and 9 PM; Mon 6/13, 7 and 9 PM; Tue 6/14, 9 PM; and Wed-Thu 6/15-6/16, 7 and 9 PM. Facets Cinematheque

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