"Jim Finn’s Encounters with Your Inner Trotsky Child also riffs on the self-help genre by reading the persecution of the Russian Marxist of the title as an allegory for finding inner peace. Mimicking the wobbly appearance of Eighties video graphics, the film employs New Age-y visualization techniques (one section is entitled “Arrogant Breath of the Puffed-Up Bourgeoisie: A Guided Meditation”) and quasi-spiritual affirmation exercises conducted by a German-speaking aerobics instructor. The better life promised by such instructions, of course, was not something that Trotsky, murdered in Mexico by Stalin’s agents, was able to achieve. Instead, the video’s narrator (Lois Severin) offers a counter history in which Trotsky evades Stalin’s reach by building an underground bunker and triumphs over his enemies. Though Encounters elicited laughter with its hyperbolic Communist rhetoric and lo-fi video effects, it also prompts a serious engagement with its central premise: that to imagine a better life for ourselves means, in part, imagining a different history." —Genevieve Yue, FILM COMMENT

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