A.R.M. Around Moscow

Video58 minutes
Co-directed by Jeanne C. Finley & Gretchen Stoeltje
Whitney Biennial Exhibition, 1994
International Documentary Festival Amsterdam, 1994
KQED & KCET Broadcast, 1994
Roxi Theater, San Francisco, 1994
Dallas Video Festival, 1994
World Wide Video Festival, 1994
Amsterdam RTL/4 Television Broadcast, 1995
A.R.M.  Around Moscow documents the American dating service A.R.M. (American-Russian Matchmaking) When it becomes clear that "writing, phoning and faxing just isn’t enough," the Los Angeles-based A.R.M. brings its American members on a tour to Moscow where they meet up to 500 Russian women in 10 days.  By questioning the relationship of personal power to domestic identity, and economic and political structure, A.R.M. Around Moscow evokes comparisons between the lives of Russian and American women, while simultaneously revealing a profound loneliness and yearning for mutual love experienced by men and women on both sides of the Atlantic.

From the moment of their anxious arrival at the Moscow airport throughout their dances, banquets, bus tours, and night club dates, to their tearful departures with their newly acquired fiancées, the American men repeatedly disparaged American women as “too feminist,” “demanding,” “unappreciative” and most importantly, “lacking in traditional family values.”  The Russian women, exhausted from balancing career and all domestic responsibilities while battling shortages of basic food and living supplies, look to these men as a possible hope for a better life and mutual love.

Despite the pathos and alienation driving the men and women to this matchmaking agency, A.R.M. Around Moscow is both humorous and hopeful and reveals the tremendous compassion the Russian women bring to their lives.