USA | 2022 | 99 min. | Daniel Roher

March 11 - 13, 2024

Director Daniel Roher’s real-life Russian thriller follows the charismatic opposition leader and former presidential candidate Alexei Navalny, who recently died on February 16 in an Arctic penal colony. 2022 Seattle International Film Festival Opening Night film and 95th Oscars® Winner (Best Documentary Feature).

Vladimir Putin’s ruthlessness has been confirmed many times over....but the vindictiveness of the former KGB spook took on a personal dimension in 2020 when charismatic opposition leader and former presidential candidate Alexei Navalny was poisoned with a notorious KGB-era weapon called novichok, a deadly nerve agent straight out of a Cold War thriller. With unnerving directness and matter-of-fact humor, Navalny describes the agony of his attack and his miraculous recovery, which plays out like an edge-of-your-seat John le Carré spy novel (including a daring intervention to whisk away the stricken Navalny for lifesaving treatment in Berlin). A born provocateur and social-media maestro, Navalny also mocks the shocking carelessness of Putin’s goons, who rely on obvious security passwords and even fall for a prank phone call in which they admit to the Putin-orchestrated novichok attack. Despite the comic-book-level cloak-and-dagger skullduggery used in the assassination attempt, director Daniel Roher manages to convey the immense peril Navalny faced—and still faces after he heroically returned to Russia in 2021 only to be immediately arrested and sent to prison, where he remains today. Shot mostly in secret during Navalny’s convalescence in Germany, the documentary includes probing and candid interviews of Navalny himself, his wife, and closest advisors, adding intimate tension to an almost unbelievable story. Navalny is an inspiring tale of political courage and steadfast resistance against unlimited power, as well as a dire warning about threats still to come from Russia’s closest approximation of a James Bond villain. — Randy Woods

  • Director: Daniel Roher
  • Principal Cast: Alexei Navalny, Yulia Navalnaya, Dasha Navalny, Zahar Navalny, Maria Pevchikh, Christo Grozev
  • Country: USA, Russia, Germany
  • Year: 2022
  • Running Time: 99 min.
  • Producer: Diane Becker, Shane Boris, Melanie Miller, Odessa Rae
  • Cinematographers: Niki Waltl
  • Editors: Maya Daise Hawke, Langdon Page
  • Music: Marius deVries
  • Filmography: Once Were Brothers (2019)
  • Language: English, Russian
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • US Distributor: CNN Films, HBOMax
  • International Sales: Dogwoof