Nick Gifford's fine, slow-burning documentaries all work by the same set of principles: to get as close to the subjects as possible, but not to use them; and to allow them to speak for themselves - no spurious manufacture of narrative or 'telling' structuralising. The Pasternaks is an extended interview with Boris Pasternak's two surviving septuagenarian sisters, who share a house in Oxford. They reminisce wonderfully about their father Leonid (a painter who seems to have crossed the subject matter of Millet with Impressionist techniques) and the family, via a collection of photographs, paintings and drawings. What emerges from Gifford's most 'conventional' documentary subject is a Jamesian pastel portrait of a rather respectable artistic family, living through extraordinary times. The description of Boris' funeral, where thousands flocked to the unannounced ceremony, is most moving. CPea.
Cast and crew