Over the course of six months, that documentary directing phenomenon Werner Herzog had three conversations with Mikhail Gorbachev, the now 87-year-old former president of the Soviet Union. In this film co-directed by André Singer, Herzog's instantly recognizable voice reveals huge admiration for his subject as he interviews this farmer’s son from the Caucasus and supplements his story with commentary and background information using voice-overs, archive footage and interviews with other prominent politicians of the period.
During and partly due to Gorbachev’s leadership, great events took place on the world stage. He introduced perestroika (political restructuring) and glasnost (transparency) to the Soviet Union. The Cold War came to an end, the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain were pulled down and nuclear disarmament began. Under the influence of political opponents, however, the Soviet Union disintegrated, and Gorbachev resigned.
While it's clearly a fateful tragedy for Gorbachev that he didn't oversee the continuation and improvement of the Soviet Union, Meeting Gorbachev is also a clear reminder of this visionary’s inestimable power to unite and his undiminished charisma. This filmed encounter is thus both a lamentation and a song of praise.