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A Generation Lost in Moscow’s Underground

9/23/2005 8:00 PM Eastern

Viewers focused on the crisis caused by Hurricane Katrina may be reminded of ongoing sociological disasters in The Children of Leningradsky, an Oscar-nominated short film upcoming on Cinemax.

Directors Hanna Polak and Andrzej Celinksi took their cameras into the grime and bustle of Moscow’s train stations to document the life of a handful of the estimated 1 million to 4 million homeless children who make the public facilities their playground and living quarters.

Many of the subjects are so erudite in their assessments of their lives and heartbreaks that at times, only their size reminds you they are children. They are wrecks without hope, dulling their pain with cigarettes, alcohol and the glue that they sniff.

Do-gooders occasionally feed them and refresh their ragged clothes, but the effort appears to be a double-edged sword: the kindness provides them with the necessities they need to keep living without moving forward, and saves them the money they need for their excesses.

They recognize their future as adult bums, but that realization creates no compassion among them. Instead, they prey on their adult counterparts like packs of attack animals, stealing possessions and pulling pranks like filling the fur caps of sleeping alcoholics with firecrackers.

Well made and eternally sad, this is an enlightening portrait of a generation lost, intimate but not exploitative or judgmental.

The Children of Leningradsky bows Sept. 28 at 7:30 p.m. on Cinemax.

U2: Fuse Will Follow

Those who want a different tone on a more entertainment-driven subject can check out 100% U2, an interview of the enduring Irish band on Fuse this week.

This interview format integrates snippets of the band’s best videos (including — for the karaoke-obsessed, we guess — lyrics) and comments from its members, prompted by questions from an off-camera questioner (hence, the 100% part).

Bono and the boys provide some insight on how these “stinking rich rock stars” try to keep normal lives by, for instance, taking public transportation while home in Dublin. Singer Bono, however, now eschews supermarkets, having been traumatically mugged in one by aggressive elderly autograph seekers, to hear him tell it.

The ground it treads might be too familiar for hard-core followers, but it’s a delight for casual fans.

100% U2 will be telecast Sept. 27 at 9 PM ET on Fuse.

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