The Litvinenko Case

Friday, September 7, 2007 

The first movie we saw at the Toronto International Film Festival was Rebellion: The Litvinenko Case by Andrei Nekrasov. He was there to answer questions in person and make his final public appearance before he too is assassinated.

The movie makes a strong, nearly overwhelming case that Litvinenko was poisoned by the KGB for speaking out about the Moscow bombings, along with Anna Politkovskaya. Both journalists appeared in the movie in interviews shot before their deaths, and both spoke of their concerns for their safety.

While there seems to be little doubt that Litvinenko was killed by the FSB, the FSB cover story that he did it himself as a means to an end was given slightly more credence by the movie and the director’s comments. First, that Litvinenko converted to Islam a year before his death with some fervor (including his father’s befuddlement at having brought unwanted Christian icons to his hospital room). Second, Nekrasov said after the movie that Litvinenko’s first words to him when he arrived in Litvinenko’s hospital room were “this is what it takes to be believed.”

Technically the movie was bit shaky, all hand held footage and stylized with extreme close ups of people’s faces and hands as they talked. While it added interest to what was otherwise a movie composed entirely of talking-head interviews, it was a little nauseating after an hour or so.

2007 Toronto International Film Festival

Posted at 22:05:14 GMT-0700

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