See five former classmates look back on a land that no longer exists

Robin Hessman’s My Perestroika tracks five Russian classmates from their childhoods in the last days of the USSR to their adult lives under Vladimir Putin.

Hessman, who spent most of the 1990s living in Russia and speaks the language fluently, lets her subjects tell their own stories—she’s a great interviewer, and they don’t hold back—and puts their ’70s- and ’80s-era home movies to good use. The film is quietly political (but not at all didactic) and intensely personal. Fans of Michael Apted’s classic Up series are sure to love it. (In limited release March 23.)

This post is from Observer Short List—an email of three favorite things from people you want to know. Sign up to receive OSL here.