Dear Comrades!

   This is a tour de force of film-making. Veteran Russian film director Andrei Konchalovksy chronicles the real events of 1962 that took place in a little-known town in the Cossack Don region, Novocherkassk. The drama unfolds through the eyes of a local female town councillor, an ardent follower of Stalin, but not so much of his recently-installed successor Khrushchev. The local workers democratically vote to strike in response to central government-imposed price rises. The ensuing state-sponsored violence is graphically portrayed in the stark medium of black and white, and the human toll shocking, not least on our narrator Lyuda, admirably played by Yuliya Vysotskaya. The controlled rage of the director makes this all the more chilling – and one has to ask what has changed in modern Russia? Myanmar? Korea? The story remains as relevant today as it was then.

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