Judge Not by Semyon Pinkhasov

Judge not…, 2007

Judge Not documents the career of Tikhon Khrennikov, a prominent composer and a pianist. He was personally nominated by Stalin in 1948 as the Secretary of the Union of Soviet Composers and occupied the position until the collapse of the Soviet Union. Tikhon Khrennikov was best known in the West, as an official antagonist of Shostakovich and Prokofiev, denouncing them in his infamous speech at a Communist Party Conference in 1948. However, he was playing both sides of the political fence, quietly providing help to those musicians and composers, who fell out of government favor. He wrote a good reference letter for composer Moshe Vaynberg when he was arrested during the anti-Semitic purges of 1952-1953 and initiated selection of Shostakovich and Prokofiev for Stalin Prize in 1950.

Yet, Khrennikov was reelected to his office for 43 years, probably because many of his colleagues believed that he was not the worst candidate for this role. This film reveals a real persona of the Soviet music tsar through series of interviews with musicians, musicologists and former colleagues.