Some people are born in a place, others are born of a place. Documentarian Marina Goldovskaya is of the latter strain, a citizen of Russia with a profound allegiance to its community and culture. For almost 40 years, Goldovskaya has made powerful documentaries that struggle against the "citadel of ideology," in her case the state television service in Russia. Her 1986 film about the first private farmer in Russia after the end of collective farming, A Real Peasant From Archkangelsk, catapulted her to the forefront in Russia when it was banned by Mikhail Gorbachev soon after its screening in Moscow.
In the late 1980s, as Glasnost was forming, Goldovskaya embarked on a film that many say accelerated the breakup of the Soviet Union: Soloky Power. Made when it was still a risk to speak of such subjects in Russia, the film revealed haunting testimony from survivors of the first Soviet labor camp, a prison that served as a model for the gulags that followed. This revelatory documentary was eventually championed by Gorbachev, who helped find an audience for its controversial disclosures.
In the 1990s, Goldovskaya turned to intimate portraits of Muscovites in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union, including A Taste of Freedom and The House of Knights. Her film The Prince Is Back is the story of one man's uncompromising fight to achieve his dream against all odds. The documentary chronicles Prince Eugene Meshchersky's struggle to resurrect his life while restoring the rubble of his ancestor's castle in a tiny village outside Moscow. At the same time that the columns of the castle are giving testimony to its grandiose past, we realize that the ruins are a metaphor for the "house" of Russia -- its shattered dreams, its ongoing struggle and its unwavering commitment to a better life.
Goldovskaya earned her bachelor of arts, master's and doctorate degrees at the Moscow Film Institute in the 1960s. She was a tenured professor in the journalism department of Moscow University for 28 years and has been a visiting professor at the University of California, San Diego; Vassar College; California State University, Northridge; and UCLA. In 1995, Goldovskaya became a full professor at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, where she currently teaches documentary history, filmmaking and production. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, George Herzfeld, a businessman.