Cinema, ‘Tango with Putin’, the rise and fall of Rain TV

Live story by Vera Krichevskaya, director and witness of the counter-current, ambitious and courageous choices of the founder of the historic channel Natasha Sindeeva

Russia 2022. While the war upsets the world, one of Putin’s first gestures is the closure, on March 4, of the only independent Russian television, “Dozhd TV – The channel of optimism”, an island of political freedom and attention to civil rights, the last remaining to give a voice to minorities, known as Rain TV. Dozhd in fact means rain. “Tango con Putin”, out in theaters on November 3, tells the rise and decline of this broadcaster and the courageous journalist who founded and administers it, Natasha Sindeeva. It was 2008 when Natasha, a 35-year-old rich woman, looking for fame and visibility, decided, full of optimism, to launch a new independent television Dozhd TV. Next to her is a team of young and enthusiastic journalists, including Vera Krichevskaya, director of the documentary. Together, they will soon find themselves fighting a war between truth and propaganda and Natasha will lose her money. In spite of her, her “baby” will become the only free voice in Putin’s Russia. When television turns ten, it is forced to shut down. Then, we know, it will reopen and close again, in a story that does not seem to end.

“Tango with Putin” is an important document, which shows the contradictions and censorship of the Russian government. The live story is by Vera Krichevskaya, director and witness of the counter-current, ambitious and courageous choices of her publisher. Vera, co-founder and co-owner of Dozhd Tv, says: “I was the second person to enter the editorial office, full of optimism and naivety, like Natasha, the protagonist. She managed to believe it until 2019, while I had all momentum already lost. The closure of the station and our dream of independent television in Russia would have been the heart of the film. But as always in documentaries, you never know how it will end. ” In 2022 Natasha is forced to flee Russia and reopens Dozhd TV, amid a thousand ups and downs related to the censorship imposed by the Russian government, to continue living and informing the public from Lithuania, through her own YouTube channel. The documentary, with the original title of “F @ ck this job”, was presented for the first time in Italy, at Cinemazero, just after the definitive closure of Dozhd Tv in Russia in 2022, at the Pordenone Docs Fest – The voices of the documentary, in front of a participating and moved audience.

“Dozhd TV is the last and only independent broadcaster in Russia that managed to survive the Putin regime – explains the director – at least until December 2021. I decided to make this film in May 2019, when the broadcaster, Dozhd TV , was one step away from closure. I was the second person to join Dozhd in 2008, full of optimism and naivety, like the founder, Natasha, the protagonist of the film. She managed to keep her optimism until 2019, I I lost it completely during my journey. The end of the company, of our dream of an independent television in Russia, should have become the central story of the future film – he adds – But as always in a documentary film, you never know which it will be the end of the story. The story of ‘Tango with Putin’ is a life path, mine and of Natasha, the main protagonist of the film – remembers Vera Krichevskaya – It is the path of all of us in this small but strong independent broadcaster in Russia from Putin. It is also the country’s transition from a state of semi-freedom to complete isolation. For me, it’s a story of journalists who have self-respect, an understanding of their profession and the belief that Russia will be free someday. “Tango with Putin” is a mosaic of our destinies and our lives, of multiple failures and rebirths, both inside and outside the camera. I hope I can tell a story of independent journalism. “

“There were two important elements that involved me more and more in the story – explains the director of ‘Tango with Putin – The first is the arc of the country, Russia. In 2008, I found my characters full of optimism. and plans for their future. They were masters of their lives. The change of the country and the change of the arc of Russia also started to change the characters. Step by step, people who had never voted in elections, who were extremely apolitical, they began to understand that they were losing their lives, their opportunities, their projects and their dreams. In a moment we meet our characters at a rally, and then we see them behind bars. ”

“The change in the country shapes the change of people, who in such a dark period found themselves strong and motivated. I believe that this film can convey the beauty of the values ​​and principles of this profession – he concludes – The mission of journalism is to show injustice. I want the public to realize it. “