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My Accidental Career as a Russian Screenwriter

“In this scene, set at a government dacha, they are joined by their American counterparts at the State Department for a daylong picnic that grows increasingly informal, involving drinks, flirtation, a guitar jam and (spoiler) contact between two spies. At times in my new job, I feel like a spy myself, and one with a shaky cover. I don’t have a good answer for how I got here.”

The New Decembrists

Hanging out in Moscow with Russia’s yuppie, 20-something journalist revolutionaries:

In other words, the protest was being brought to you by the same people you would have relied on, weeks earlier, for restaurant picks.

The Movie Set That Ate Itself

Inside the five-year (so far) production of the Ilya Khrzhanovsky film Dau:

Khrzhanovsky came up with the idea of the Institute not long after preproduction on Dau began in 2006. He wanted a space where he could elicit the needed emotions from his cast in controlled conditions, twenty-four hours a day. The set would be a panopticon. Microphones would hide in lighting fixtures (as they would in many a lamp in Stalin's USSR), allowing Khrzhanovsky to shoot with multiple film cameras from practically anywhere — through windows, skylights, and two-way mirrors. The Institute's ostensible goal was to re-create '50s and '60s Moscow, home to Dau's subject, Lev Landau. A Nobel Prize–winning physicist, Landau significantly advanced quantum mechanics with his theories of diamagnetism, superfluidity, and superconductivity. He also tapped epic amounts of ass.