Ischeznuvshaya Imperiya (Vanished Empire)
Ischeznuvshaya Imperiya (Vanished Empire) (2008)

Love and youthful idealism are both put to the test as the Soviet Union begins to crumble in this drama from director Karen Shakhnazarov. In the early '70s, Sergei (Alexander Lyapin) is a Russian college student who proudly describes… More

Rated: Unrated
Running Time:
Release Date: February 14, 2008
DVD Release Date: February 2, 2010
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Critic Score: 75% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews
G. Allen Johnson
San Francisco Chronicle

Shakhnazarov, who began his film career in the Soviet era and was about the age of his protagonists in '73, brings an authenticity to the material, as well as a certain wistfulness in his excellent re-creation of Brezhnev-era Moscow.

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Elizabeth Weitzman
New York Daily News

Evocative period details and persuasive performances lend a poignant sadness to Karen Shakhnazarov's familiar, but well-told, coming-of-age tale.

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Daniel Eagan
Film Journal International

Bland look at rebellious teens who experience the last days of the Soviet empire.

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Robert Abele
Los Angeles Times

A nicely turned film about the crushing inevitability of change.

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V.A. Musetto
New York Post

[Director] Shakhnazarov came of age during the Soviet Union's Communist days and brings firsthand experience to the Brezhnev-era The Vanished Empire.

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Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Spirituality and Practice

A Russian film about a self-absorbed youth who is driven by an insatiable yearning to have whatever he wants.

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J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader

In the gray old days of Brezhnev and detente, Russian college students shimmy to "Sugar, Sugar" and shell out for black-market Levis, unaware that these are the best days of their lives

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Stephen Holden
New York Times

In The Vanished Empire, Mr. Shakhnazarov, a prolific and under-recognized Russian filmmaker with a surrealist touch, views the collapse of the Soviet Union as an inevitable conflation of the younger generation's natural impulse to reject the past.

Bill Weber
Slant Magazine

The lost-world aura of the film's clumsy youths provides an inexorable dig into Brezhnev-era diffidence.

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