In Review

Film review: F@ck This Job

A ‘fascinating’ documentary about the media in Putin’s Russia

Part media documentary, part Putin takedown, this “fascinating” film charts the rise of Dozhd, an independent TV station in Russia that’s long been hounded by the Kremlin, said Kevin Maher in The Times.

Originally launched in 2010 as a lifestyle channel by Natalia Sindeeva, a “glamorous Russian socialite”, Dozhd quickly changed direction and became an unexpected source of reliable news and “oppositional politics”, with the now-jailed anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny among its frequent guests.

Soon its reporters were being “tossed into secret police vans”, but somehow the channel has survived. Director Vera Krichevskaya, a former Dozhd producer, focuses on Sindeeva, tracking her “riches to righteousness awakening” without diving deeply enough into her motivations for the film to entirely satisfy. All the same, it delivers an impression of Vladimir Putin’s increasingly totalitarian regime that is “grimly compelling” and depressingly relevant.

Had we got a better sense of Sindeeva’s “Damascene conversion”, this “valuable portrait” could have been “a great one”, agreed Tim Robey in The Daily Telegraph. Still, the film is very interesting, not least on the hopeful moment when Dmitry Medvedev became president in 2008.

From its earliest days, the channel gave voice to Ukrainians from inside Russia, said Danny Leigh in the FT. As a tribute to dogged independent journalism, this film would be “welcome anytime” – but right now it feels positively urgent.

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