Alexander Rodnyansky: Goodbye UdSSR

Goodbye UdSSR, Alexander Rodnyansky, 63’, Germany / Ukraine, ZDF 22.9.1992, OV with German subtitles

A father and son visit their family grave in a cemetery in Kiev. “On this Sunday, 1 December 1991,” the filmmaker explains, “the people voted for Ukraine’s independence. I didn’t understand that this day meant the end of our country. It will no longer be my son’s country.” With these words, Alexander Rodnyansky begins his cinematic search for the Jewish community in Ukraine. He meets friends who do not want to emigrate from the disintegrating USSR. He searches for sites of memory, for relics of a fading cultural identity. Today, the film is a historical document. The director subsequently moved to Moscow, built a media empire there and now produces from Los Angeles. In May 2023, he was convicted in absentia by a Russian court for criticising the Ukraine war.

Alexander Rodnyansky (*1961) is a Ukrainian film director and producer. He enjoyed his first successes while still in the USSR, receiving the European Film Award, among others, for Raoul Wallenberg’s Mission (1990). In cooperation with Das kleine Fernsehspiel, he made the autobiographical documentary Goodby UdSSR (1991), which received numerous awards. From the mid- 1990s, Rodnyansky was mainly active as producer in Ukraine and Russia, and from 2013, he devoted himself to arthouse cinema. His films have been shown in Cannes, Berlin, London, Toronto and received many awards including an Oscar nomination. Today he works mainly in the USA.