LAKE PLACID, NY — An exhilarating and inspiring film about the rise and fall of hockey in the Soviet Union during the last decade of the Cold War comes to the place where American hockey achieved its greatest triumph and the Russian game its Waterloo. The film, Red Army, is bound to thrill hockey and non-hockey fans alike in its depiction of how one man, team captain Slava Fetisov, stood up to a powerful system and paved the way for change for future generations of Russians. The film will be shown this Friday and Saturday, November 7-8, at 7 pm at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts (LPCA). All seats are $7, with tickets available at the door.
A smash hit at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival , director Gabe Polsky’s feature documentary is fresh off its acclaimed appearance at this fall’s New York Film Festival, where it generated widespread positive buzz. Now filmgoers as well as hockey buffs in Lake Placid — the scene, of course, of the “Miracle on Ice” during the 1980 Olympics — can experience the power and the glory of Red Army as the latest installment in the Lake Placid Film Forum’s new monthly screening series.
Guided by a Heritage of Hockey
A rising star in the film industry — Mr. Polsky co-directed the award-winning feature The Motel Life and has co-produced such films as Werner Herzog’s Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans — the Red Army director has direct ties to Lake Placid himself: he came to the Olympic village when he was 17, competing with the best teen hockey players in the country for a spot on the U.S. Under-18 team. Gabe missed the cut, but two of his teammates went on to the NHL and to captain the Univ. of Michigan hockey team, respectively, and he continued to play the game throughout his undergraduate years at Yale. His experience on the ice informed his work on Red Army, as did the fact that he is the son of Soviet Ukrainian immigrants. Making the film, Polsky has observed, afforded him the opportunity both to explore his heritage and examine the impact hockey had on the culture, politics, and legacy of the Soviet Union.
“Red Army is about how an incredibly oppressive system produced one of the greatest teams in history,” he said in a statement released for the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. “That success came with tremendous personal costs. My intention in making this film is to honor the Soviet struggle and to celebrate the art that emerged from such a charged and unique time in history.”
Meet the Filmmaker
Plans are afoot to make the L.A.-based filmmaker available for an interview, via Skype, following at least one of the screenings on Nov. 7-8. Putting audiences face-to-face with filmmakers, even if the conversation is conducted electronically, has been one of the ongoing attractions of the Lake Placid Film Forum (LPFF) since its inception in 2000 as an annual, multi-day event. Its organizers are continuing that tradition now that the LPFF has morphed into a monthly series.
As with previous screenings, Red Army is being presented through a special collaboration between the Adirondack Film Society, which has sponsored the Lake Placid Film Forum since 2000 (among its many other projects, such as its role in the “Go Digital, Go Dark” funding of North Country movie houses), and the LPCA.
For more information, please call the box office at (518) 523-2512 or visit www.lakeplacidarts.org.