Eye For Film >> Movies >> Anastasia (2022) Film Review
Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson
Sarah McCarthy’s Oscar-shortlisted documentary is an intimate and melancholic documentary about Anastasia Shevchenko, a Russian civil rights campaigner who was put under house arrest for two years as a result of her work with political opposition organisation Open Russia.
The repercussions of her house arrest extended far beyond the political sphere, however, as one of her three children, Alina, who was severely disabled, was institutionalised as a result. Even as the youngster’s health declined, Shevchenko was not allowed to see her. This film picks up the story as Shevchenko and her surviving children Vlada and Misha prepare, with Shevchenko’s mother, to take Alina’s ashes to the Black Sea to say goodbye for a final time. Wrapped around the overt goodbye is a more tacit one as Shevchenko knows leaving the country - she and her family are now in Lithuania - is also on the cards.
McCarthy keeps her focus on the family, showing the impact this act of political cruelty has had on Shevchenko and her kids, not just in their immediate grief but on their relationships and their plans for the future. Although Denis Sinyakov’s camera takes an intimate position within the trip, there’s a constant sense of collaboration with all three generations that means although raw emotion is captured, the filmmaking never feels intrusive. What emerges is a portrait of a family who remain defiant and hopeful for a different future even in the face of the senseless cruelty they have been subjected to.Reviewed on: 06 Jan 2023