“My name is Fanya Kaplan. Today I shot at Lenin. I consider him a traitor to the revolution”. These were the very words of the young assassin, as recorded when she was interrogated by the Cheka on August 30th, 1918. Four days later she was executed.
It is to this woman that Ukrainian director Olena Demyanenko has devoted a biopic; starting out with a portrait of a bright, perhaps overprotected youngster from a bourgeois Jewish family who falls in love with a rough-around-the-edges revolutionary and ends up involved in her first assassination attempt at the age of sixteen. She is found guilty, exiled and only allowed to return home years later. During her time in prison she starts to suffer from impaired vision, and is treated by none other than Lenin's brother Dmitry.
In this work, which at times can be said to exaggerate certain political events and historical figures, a portrait of a young, idealistic and vulnerable young woman is painted which weaves together fact and fiction in a way that transcends several genres. When all is said and done, the mystery of Fanny Kaplan remains. JT