Now that many records have been digitised and access may only be a few clicks (and a few more pounds) away, more and more people have begun to research their family histories. The popularity of sites like Ancestry.com around the turn of the century saw millions of people around the world cast their nets back through history to discover where they came from. However, it is not always that simple or easy to trace your roots.
In Paris, filmmaker Vladimir Léon delivers a suitcase, which he discovered in his mother’s house after she died, to his brother Pierre. The pair rifle through the contents and it soon becomes apparent that their Russian grandparents (Lily and Constantin) had unexplainable connections with the Soviet secret services during the 1930s. As they continue to investigate, they travel to their native Russia to face the ghosts of their family’s past. This journey is captured in My Dear Spies.
My Dear Spies is a fascinating and intriguing documentary about two men trying to piece-together fragments from their family’s biography. This mission takes them on a trip to meet historians, friends and witnesses in a bid to uncover the truth. Their journey propels them down many roads, and while their path is possibly a bit too meandering with each revelation My Dear Spies just gets more and more enthralling.
My Dear Spies screens at Sheffield Doc/Fest.