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At once a biographical study of a controversial politician and a speculative essay on the inherent dangers of populist sentiment, documentarist Pawel Pawlikowski's 1995 Tripping With Zhirinovsky hones in on Vladimir Zhirinovsky, a Russian nationalist and the head of the controversial Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR). When the film first depicts Zhirinovsky, he's on a cruise, just outside of New York City, flanked by hundreds of impassioned adherents who champion his outspoken convictions.
Still others, however, shun Zhirinovsky as a potentially dangerous and racist figure who wields far too much sway for the common good. Pawlikowski uses screen time to evaluate the negative implications of the said politico's doings and to reflect on the risks of nativist populism per se.
Pawel Pawlikowski, Pawel Pawlikowski