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"Red Army": Documentary Revisits the Cold War Through the Lens of Hockey 

Wednesday, Feb 4 2015

America gets so spooked by foreigners with dark skin these days, it can be easy to forget that just a few decades ago, our mortal enemies had blond hair and blue eyes. We were terrified of the Soviets (the nuclear missiles helped, it's true), and Gabe Polsky's entertaining documentary Red Army revisits the Cold War through the lens of hockey, particularly the story of Slava Fetisov, the captain and most charismatic member of the Soviet Union's Red Army hockey team. Hockey is a huge deal to the Russians, right up there with the worship of football in Brazil, and Red Army (the movie) follows the ups and downs of Red Army (the team) throughout the last half-century of Russian history, from Brezhnev to Gorbachev and beyond. The team goes from living in a repressive, individuality-crushing regime (a forced work ethic which did result in them becoming the best hockey team the world) to playing for xenophobic Americans in the New Jersey Devils, as the Berlin Wall falls and Soviet Union collapses into its component parts. Red Army keeps a light tone even when dealing with serious issues, and is chock-full of great stock footage, including a Russian circus featuring bears playing hockey (how can that be?). Polsky also marginalizes Ronald Reagan's role, and that's history done right.


About The Author

Sherilyn Connelly


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