Mikhail Khodorkovsky, subject of Cyril Tuschi's documentary, KHODORKOVSKY. Picture courtesy of Kino Lorber. All rights reserved.

Khodorkovsky (2011)

Opened: 11/30/2011 Limited

Fallbrook 710/14/2011 - 10/20/20117 days
Film Forum/NYC11/30/2011 - 12/13/201114 days

Trailer: Click for trailer

Websites: Home, YouTube

Genre: Biographical Documentary (German, English and Russian w/English subtitles)

Rated: Unrated


This exhilarating documentary chronicles Mikhail Khodorkovsky's transformation from a self-proclaimed socialist to a fully realized capitalist -- also recounting the stunning turn of events that made him one of world's most famous political prisoners.

Weaving together in-depth interviews (including the first on-camera exchange with Khodorkovsky since his arrest), archival material, and stylized computer-animated reenactments, Tuschi shows us a man who embodies the paradox that is modern Russia -- condemning the very corruption that helped make his fortune and envisioning a new Russia with respect for the rule of law.

Also covering the fight between Russia's richest man (Khodorkovsky) and the country's most powerful leader (Putin), Cyril Tuschi effortlessly integrates investigative journalism with in-depth political analysis, always contextualizing his narrative against political and cultural changes that reshaped Russian life in the last 20 years.

The film also dares to explore some of the still-unanswered questions about this mysterious story (e.g. Why didn't Khodorkovsky leave Russia before being arrested? How was Vladimir Putin threatened by Khodorkovsky? And if so, how?)

Stolen twice from the filmmaker's office before its Berlin premiere, Khodorkovsky is investigative journalism as political thriller -- and an unflinching look at the state of the still-infant capitalist Russia.

Director's Statement

I usually make fiction films. But at a film festival in Siberia, I heard about the fate that befell Khodorkovsky, and I immediately thought of making a fictional drama about this story. Yet, during my second trip to Russia, I realized that it was too early for a scripted fantasy about Khodorkovsky, so I immediately (almost five years ago) began to work on this documentary.

I spent a lot of time in the Russian courts, following this case, and was therefore able to film the first interview with Khodorkovsky since his arrest. I also have a personal interest in telling this story; my great grandfather, Robert San-Galli, an italo-german industrialist, lived in St. Petersburg and was forced to flee the country during the October revolution.

-- Cyril Tuschi

About the Director

Cyril Tuschi was born in 1969 in Frankfurt. After studying Philosophy in the United States in the late 1980s, he opened a nightclub and worked at the state theatre in Stuttgart. In 1992, his first short film Frankfurt at the Seaside (Frankfurt am Meer) was invited to several festivals in Germany. He then enrolled at the Film Academy Baden- Wuerttemberg.

In 1995, Tuschi directed the short film Nightland (Nachtland, 1995), a Kafka adaptation which won the New York Academy Camera Prize in 1996. After years spent working on music videos, Tuschi directed his feature film debut Slight Changes in Temperature and Mind (Sommer Hunde Soehne, 2004), a road movie that won several audience awards in Europe. Now, Tuschi focuses his time on developing scripts and international co-productions for his company Lala Films.