Ambiguities behind Soviet-style sporting heroics are intriguingly rendered as Polsky allows ice hockey legend Fetisov to talk himself into (and out of) the various roles that he played: in Russia and the US; on the ice and off it. Riveting footage of Fetisov’s defense style abounds, but it’s Fetisov’s own defense of what he was and then became (Russian sports minister) that takes this film beyond sport – and deep into current cultural politics.
Red Army | Directed by Gabe Polsky (USA, Russia 2014) documentary with Viacheslav Fetisov, Scotty Bowman. Starts January 29
Originally published in issue #135, February 2015