It is hard to accept that Michael Jackson is gone. He could have had a longer, healthier career, but it was not meant to be. But, like the Beatles, he will live forever--there is no other way, really. His recorded and filmed music is there for us to enjoy until the end of time. One of such documents is the remarkable and engaging "Michael Jackson Moscow Case 1993," a documentary directed by Egor Trubnikoff.
The film was put together with footage that Emmy Award nominee Yuri Burak shot during Michael Jackson's historical concert in Moscow, on September 15, 1993. It begins at the Red Square, with Jackson posing for the camera, with St. Basil's Cathedral on the background. He was on the way to the airport. The film then takes us to the days preceding the concert, and all the preparations that took place. For this purpose, the filmmakers interviewed some key personnel to the event, like Ruslan Miroshnick (producer and technical director) and promoter Ilya Bachvrin. Their accounts were aided by Sergey Chaplygin (office assistant), DJ Kate Kandalina, and music guru Art Troitsky. All of them bring their unique views and perspectives about the concert.
Michael Jackson's trip to the USRR coincided with big changes taking place in the region, with an incipient democracy providing for hard days. We are taken to the promoters' office five days before the concert, where we see the staff trying to organize what appeared to be a chaotic event. We are told that the tickets were expensive and only 10,000 of 55,000 seats were sold, and in the hours prior to the concert, some tickets were given away to the military to fill seats. Sadly, too, the presentation took place on a rainy, cold night. In addition, competing promoters tried to sabotage the event, by throwing cement in the air during the rain, to make it harder, and the media didn't help promoting it. Furthermore, paratroopers had to be brought, so that the stage could be built on time. The stage, due the rain, was flooded, and Jackson had to sing and dance while some assistants were constantly drying the floor with towels. Despite all, however, Jackson gave his 100% and the concert was a success, a historic event at that important, transitional time in Moscow.
"Michael Jackson Moscow Case 1993" is document of our times. Even though the Russians were not prepared for such a show - it was apparently a first --, the promoters' vision prevailed and they made history. We see plenty of Jackson, in the days preceding and after the concert. It is a must have for any Michael Jackson fan. (2011, color, 60 min)
Reviewed on March 12, 2013 by Eric Gonzales for MVD Visual.