Spurred on by his zealous publisher, a wide-eyed American photographer roams the globe in search of the last remaining Lenin statues. But what he finds isn’t exactly what his publisher had in mind. An ironic take on post-Cold War Eastern Europe.
“The Book of Lenins” documents my attempt to make a book about Lenin monuments, a project which began with a series of photographs I took during my first trip to the USSR in 1989 – several years before I struck upon the idea of making a film about my Lenin odyssey. In this film, I have coupled unusual uses of archival and original photographs with live footage in order to document both the voyage which began before the film project came to life as well as the film journey itself. The climax is undoubtedly the exhuming of the 60 foot Lenin statue which stood in East Berlin until 1992, and which the new German government had torn down and buried in a forest near the city limits. It is symptomatic of how the new governments in the former East Bloc countries are dealing with their communist heritage. I hope that my light-hearted American approach to this heavy historical subject will make the film equally accessible to audiences in both the East and the West, and give some insight into what has happened in Central and Eastern Europe since the Berlin Wall fell in 1989.