Institute History

  • 2009 Sundance Film Festival


Russia is the second-most-dangerous country in the world for journalists, after Iraq. The Russian Union of Journalists has recorded the names of its members killed in Russia since 1991. Anna Politkovskaya was number 211. Her assassination in 2006 was stunning in its simplicity: she was shot point blank in her apartment building in Moscow. Her murderer has never been identified, and it is widely assumed that her continuing coverage of the Russian government’s brutality toward its own people, particularly in Chechnya, resulted in her death.

211: Anna weaves a story of modern Russia and a woman who passionately believed that the untold stories of everyday people were an unheralded history. As a journalist, she followed events heartbreaking in their cruelty, from the war in Chechnya to the siege of the Russian Parliament building to the death of hundreds of children during the Beslan school-hostage crisis. Her stark coverage brought her international recognition, as well as anonymous threats, poisoning attempts, and government reprisal. In the end, it brought death to her doorstep.

Combining interviews with her husband of many years, Russian TV anchor Alexander Politkovski, her children, and her newspaper colleagues with the writings of Politovskaya herself, Italian directors Paolo Serbandini and Giovanna Massimetti create an impressionistic portrait of a woman, a nation, and a people under siege.

— Cara Mertes

Screening Details

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