My Perestroika, which premiered last Tuesday night on POV, has been receiving rave reviews. As you meet five former classmates, you’ll witness their coming-of age from living sheltered childhoods in the USSR to searching for their places in today’s Moscow. Here’s a sampling of what some top critics are saying about this important film.

In the Wall Street Journal, writer Dorothy Rabinowitz called My Perestroikaa work of such exhilarating depth and humor as to make it seem impossible at times to appreciate, fully, the scope of the history it manages to encompass along the way…Robin Hessman has extracted a picture of these lives and their times extraordinary for its vitality and color.”

The New York Times‘ Stephen Holden wrote earlier this year that the film is “enthralling… My Perestroika gives you a privileged sense of learning the history of a place not from a book but from the people who lived it. Watching it is a little like attending a party in an unfamiliar city and discovering the place’s secrets from the guests…”

David Lewis of The San Francisco Chronicle remarks that “My Perestroika is an intimate epic that succeeds … A distinctly Russian-flavored mix of nostalgia and disillusionment that never fails to be engrossing.”

Watch Robin Hessman talk about her film with’s Rick Borutta:

Popmatters‘ Cynthia Fuchs calls My Perestroika a “terrific documentary.”

Blogger John Esther’s says, “Engulfed in a bittersweet symphony of getting what one wants and losing what one once had, the documentary’s personal conversations manifest themselves into something greater than a few Russians weighing in on current affairs.”

If you missed last week’s broadcast of My Perestroika, you can still watch the entire film online or browse by chapter — for free — through August 28 on the POV website. Visit POV’s My Perestroika companion site for other interactive features inspired by the film.

POV’s 24th season continues Tuesday nights through September 27, concluding with a special broadcast on November 10. Keep up with the films at, on Twitter @povdocs or on Facebook.

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Alva French is a freelance multimedia journalist and was a POV Digital intern in Summer 2011. She has been blogging on French and Francophone music, politics and culture since 2007 and is an aspiring documentary filmmaker. Alva is currently an M.A. candidate in International Reporting at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.