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Putin’s Russia, and the Films “The Girl” and “Beyond the Hills”

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Thursday, March 07, 2013

United States President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin walk to the G8 Summit dinner following their bilateral meeting in Ireland on 17 June 2013. (Pete Souza/Wikipedia Commons)

Russian journalist Masha Gessen traces the rise of Vladimir Putin from low-level KGB operative to president of Russia, and looks at how he’s been able to maintain his power. Director David Riker and Abbie Cornish, his star in the new film, “The Girl,” about a single mother who’s lost her child to social services and tries some desperate measures to straighten out her life. Christian Mungiu talks about his latest film, “Beyond the Hills,” which won Best Actress and Best Screenplay at Cannes last year.

The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin

Moscow-based journalist Masha Gessen talks about how Vladimir Putin, a low-level KGB operative, ascended to the Russian presidency. She argues that Mr. Putin has destroyed years of progress and made his country a threat to its own people and to the world. The Man without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin tells how he was handpicked as a successor to Boris Yeltsin, and how his popularity soared even as he seized control of media, sent political rivals and critics into exile or to the grave, and dismantled the country's fragile electoral system, concentrating power in the hands of his cronies.

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Abbie Cornish on “The Girl”

Director David Riker talks about his new film, “The Girl,” with its star, Abbie Cornish. Struggling with the loss of her child to Social Services, a single mother is trapped in the quicksand of her south Texas life, when her path collides with a young girl from Mexico.

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“Beyond the Hills”

Director Christian Mungiu talks about his latest film, “Beyond the Hills,” winner of the Cannes 2012 awards for Best Actress (for its two leads) and Best Screenplay. Set in an isolated Orthodox convent in Romania where, the film tells the story of Alina and her childhood friend Voichita, a novice nun. When Alina challenges the priest in an attempt to win back Voichita’s affection, she is suspected of being possessed. Mungiu based his gripping drama on a case of alleged demonic possession that occurred in a Romanian monastery in 2005.

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Bob Hennelly on Senator Menendez

WNYC’s Bob Hennelly discusses the Senate ethics probe into the relationship between New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez's and a major campaign donor. We’ll also look at Sen. Menendez’s campaign finance operation and his broader sphere of influence.

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The Future of Al Qaeda

Over the last decade Al Qaeda has evolved into a complex and far-flung threat. We’ll speak with journalist Abdel Bari Atwan—who interviewed Bin Laden on two occasions—about the future of the organization. He's the author of After Bin Laden: Al Qaeda: The Next Generation.

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