STARS:  Mikhail Gorbachev, Werner Herzog, Ronald Reagan

DIRECTOR: Werner Herzog and André Singer


Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev three times over a six-month period was a fascinating and enlightening experience. I was anxious not to film a biography of him but to try to understand the character of such an important figure. Here was a man who changed the course of the twentieth century and whose actions transformed the world I grew up in; yet in Moscow, I found a somewhat tragic and lonely figure, surrounded by people who blamed him for the loss of the Soviet Union and for not fulfilling the promises of perestroika and glasnost that he had hoped would improve their lives. Our conversations were frank, and wide-ranging, from his anger over the lack of progress over nuclear arms reduction that he had initiated with Ronald Reagan to personal tragedies such as the loss of his beloved wife Raisa in 1999. Although Mikhail Sergeyevich was not a physically well man, his intelligence, charisma and sense of purpose were still sharp and illuminating and it was a pleasure to have been able to meet such a charismatic, genuine and significant giant of the 20thcentury.


When agreeing with MDR (the German ARD Channel) to make a film about the last President of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, the filmmaker in me asked how we could create a narrative that was engaging, unique and attractive to a new generation who had little experience or knowledge of the ‘Gorbachev Years’ and the Cold War?Having collaborated with Werner Herzog over a thirty-year period, I thought that his inimitable insights might provide the key.I was therefore delighted when he agreed to participate, co-direct and conduct the interviews with the ailing ex-Soviet leader. When A&E agreed to come onboard the plan all came together. It worked

Meeting Gorbachev

Not rated 

Runtime: 1:30

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Tickets on sale Thursday, May 21st at 10:30 am online and at the Bear Tooth box office!

Werner Herzog and AndréSinger’s riveting documentary, filled with unforgettable archive materials and based on three long interviews, provides incredible access to, arguably, the world’s greatest living politician. Now 87 and battling illness, the visionary Mikhail Gorbachev, former General Secretary of the U.S.S.R, has mellowed and slowed down. Still, gently but resolutely, he is pushing towards his goals. Herzog, as on-screen interviewer, does not disguise his affection, celebrating Gorbachev’s three remarkable accomplishments:negotiations with the U.S. to reduce nuclear weapons; cessation of Soviet control of Eastern Europe and the reunification of Germany; and the dissolution of the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc. All of this in six years. One German diplomat sums up Gorbachev’s approach: “The process went so quickly that ... opponents were overcome by the reality of the situation.” Herzog and Singer remind us of the drastic and unforeseeable way the world changes.

Written and narratedby Werner Herzog

In English, Russian, German and Polish with English subtitles.