(CBS Local)- Documentaries are as popular as they have ever been and that is music to Alex Gibney’s ears.
The Oscar Award-winning filmmaker behind documentaries like “Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room” and “The Inventor: Out For Blood In Silicon Valley” is back with a new film called “Citizen K” about Russian businessman Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
Gibney’s documentary chronicles Khodorkovsky’s very public battle with Russian President Vladimir Putin and takes a look at Russia’s economic and political culture. The film debuts in Los Angeles on Friday and Gibney believes Khodorkovsky’s story is the perfect one to help Americans understand what Russia is all about.
“Since the Soviet Union, I don’t think a lot of us had paid attention to Russia,” said Gibney in an interview with CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith. “I think after the 2016 election it was how does that place work. Those were some of the questions I was asking. I do a lot of films about power and abuses of power and if you want to understand power, go to the guy who went from the bottom to the top and back to the bottom again.”
One of the more interesting parts of the film is the story of Putin’s rise through the Russian government. Television played a major factor in making that happen and that’s why Gibney sees several parallels between Putin and President Donald Trump.
“He was a TV created character. For people who have watched this film, there are a lot of uneasy parallels between Putin versus the Donald Trump story,” said Gibney. “One of those is that idea that TV created a Putin that was really a fictional James Bond type character and was nothing like the real character. Same thing here. The Apprentice created Donald Trump as a hugely successful businessman, even though he may have been the worst businessman in history.”
The film premieres in Los Angeles on November 22 and will expand to other cities in 2020.