Magazine June 03, 2019, Issue

Meeting Gorbachev: Werner Herzog’s Unexpected Documentary

Mikhail Gorbachev in Meeting Gorbachev (Werner Herzog FilmProduktion)

I am surprised to be writing this review, because I am surprised that the movie I’m reviewing, Meeting Gorbachev, even exists. Not because of its subject, Mikhail Gorbachev’s remarkable career and peculiar ghostly afterlife, which is certainly a worthy subject for a documentarian. But because that subject seems such an unlikely one for this particular director — who is Werner Herzog, existentialist documentarian, Teutonic pessimist, the most instantly recognizable narrative voice in nonfiction film. (André Singer is his co-director.)

Herzog has made movies over the years that touch on politics, but only glancingly and incidentally. His familiar topics are the pitiless

This article appears as “Gorbachev in Twilight” in the June 3, 2019, print edition of National Review.

In This Issue

Against Socialism

Books, Arts & Manners

Sections

The Week

The Week

Don’t tear up your tickets just yet: We hear the Kentucky Derby loser is appealing to the Ninth Circuit.
Athwart

Going Postal

Bernie Sanders tweeted a hot new idea: ‘Did you know that from 1911-1967, Americans could bank at their local post office?’

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