A story that could have ended the Cold War long before Gorbachev. In the autumn of 1959, with communist paranoia at its peak, the Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev arrived in Washington for an unprecedented no-holds-barred two week tour of the United States.
“Tim Toidze weaves the humour, hysteria and surreal qualities of this state visit into a profile of the political propaganda that permeated both sides of the Iron Curtain.” – Hot Docs Film Festival
This little known story could have ended the Cold War long before Gorbachev. Amid the descent of the Iron Curtain, the Bay of Pigs Invasion, and the conflict in Vietnam lies one of the more bizarre moments of the period. In the autumn of 1959 with communist paranoia at its peak, the US Government made the extraordinary decision to invite the Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, America’s arch-enemy, for an unprecedented, ‘no-holds-barred’ two week tour of the United States. Their aim was to influence and convert the Russian leader to the wonders of the free world but unbeknownst to them, Khrushchev had his own agenda and he wasn’t going to back down.
Khrushchev’s personal voice recordings from the trip are used to offer a remarkable insight into his experience’s in America, mixed with television footage, home movies (by Khrushchev’s son Sergei), photos and political propaganda – both Soviet and American. His often humorous commentary, makes for a surreal and fantastically entertaining documentary about this now forgotten historical event. At a time when ordinary Americans built atomic shelters in their backyard, Khrushchev veered between seducing them and threatening to blow them to smithereens. In the end, he won the PR war, captivating citizens and media alike in – as he termed it – the trip of his life.