“Ivan the Terrible kisses his wife for too long,” is what Stalin reportedly said about the eponymous film when its director Sergei Eisenstein had an audience with him. This is one of the many anecdotes in this playful chronicle of the 20th century viewed through the lives of Eisenstein and Isaiah Berlin, both of whom were born at the beginning of the century in Riga, Latvia. Eisenstein became the most brilliant film director of his generation under the totalitarian Soviet regime, while Berlin emerged as the greatest thinker of his generation in liberal Great Britain. Stories from the personal lives of these two men parallel historical benchmarks such as the Russian Revolution, the Second World War, and their first and only meeting in Moscow in 1945. A narrator guides the viewer through this entirely black-and-white film, which apart from archive footage such as Wolf Hunting in Russia made by the Pathé brothers in 1910 leans heavily on reenacted scenes from the subjects’ lives, such as the tennis match between Eisenstein and Charlie Chaplin on a visit to Hollywood in 1930. These scenes deploy styles from the silent age, including the typical film music of the time, title cards and a melodramatic acting style, as well as special effects and double projections.