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On November 9th, WNET.ORG will air a special one-hour documentary about The Beatles to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. How the Beatles Rocked the Kremlin tells the extraordinary and untold story of how the Beatles punctured the Iron Curtain. In a personal journey through Russia by award-winning director Leslie Woodhead, he tells in first-person accounts the story of a secret revolution which contributed to the fall of communism.
On August 1962, director Leslie Woodhead made a two-minute film in Liverpool’s Cavern Club with a raw and unrecorded group of unknown rockers- the Beatles. Twenty-five years later, while making a series of films in Russia, Woodhead would learn just how powerful Beatlemania was. Even though they were never to play in the Soviet Union, the Beatles’ music and their rebellious style had soaked into the lives of a generation of kids.
“I’ve always been fascinated by the story of how the moptops conquered the world,” said filmmaker Leslie Woodhead. “And since I’ve made a series of documentaries in the former Evil Empire over the past 30 years, I have a special taste for this film.”
This film introduces the world to the Russian Beatles generation and hears personal stories about how the Fab Four changed their lives, gave them hope, and helped to undermine the foundations of the Soviet system. The film showcases archival Soviet-era footage, laced with interviews with Soviet Beatles fans that reflect – and reveal – just how they managed to listen to the outlawed music of the Fab Four.
Art Troitsky, Russia’s leading rock music writer and self-proclaimed “radical young man” during the Beatles era, describes just how important the band was, behind the Iron Curtain. “In the big bad West,” he says, “they’ve had whole huge institutions which spent millions of dollars for undermining the Soviet system. And I’m sure that the impact of all those stupid Cold War institutions has been much, much smaller than the impact of the Beatles.”
How the Beatles Rocked the Kremlin is a one-hour documentary produced, directed and narrated by Leslie Woodhead, an award-winning documentary filmmaker. The program features interviews with Kolya Vasin, a Beatles “super fan” from St. Petersburg who built a “Temple of Peace and Love” to John Lennon; Sergei Ivanov, Russia’s Deputy Premier, who insisted that he learned English from smuggled Beatles records; rock commentator Artemy Troitsky; and numerous Soviet Beatles cover bands, including bandmates Yury Pelyushonok, Yuri Yakovlev and Anatoly Chernuchevich who reunited for this film, writing and performing a new song called “Kruschev Era Rock.”
To coincide with the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, WNET.ORG will premiere the documentary on Monday, November 9th at 9:00 p.m. (EST, check local listings) to be shown nationally throughout the PBS network.