Vladimir Putin’s worst nightmare may have come true. His hockey team has bought a ticket on the Horror Express after losing to old rivals Finland 3-1 in the Olympic quarter-finals, with one of the Finnish goals scored by the oldest player in the tournament, 43 year-old Teemu Selanne of the Anaheim Ducks. Finland will now face their other neighbors Sweden in the semi-finals, while the US faces off with Canada.

The Russians won’t even get a medal, let alone another crack at the Americans and/or Olympic gold, in a Winter Games in which it appeared their leader would accept no less. The pressure was crushing, and it was showing (keep this in mind for Brazil at the World Cup this summer). It’s hard to imagine this failure will not go unpunished, sooner or later (and most likely out of the limelight).

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On that note it might be appropriate to take a viewing of Lost In Siberia (1991) available on FilmOn’s free VOD service. Starring Anthony Andrews (Danger UXB, Brideshead Revisited, Under The Volcano, The King’s Speech), the film will appeal greatly to those who found Bridge Over The River Kwai (1957), Dr. Zhivago (1965), Papillon (1973) and Midnight Express (1978) enthralling. As Russo-British archeologist Andrei Miller, kidnapped from northern Iran and accused of spying, Andrews does a great job of channelling Alec Guiness, Omar Sharif, Steve McQueen and Brad Davis while bringing his own too-rarely seen charm to a miserable situation, Stalin’s post-WWII Siberian gulags.

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Shot from Miller’s point-of view, the lack of subtitles for the Russian actors (who are also nevertheless excellent), lends both realistic and phantasmagoric elements, much like Midnight Express. Lost In Siberia was the first Russian film to show the gulags in their authentic Russian locations. It was directed by Alexandr Mitta, who had made a number of big budget Soviet and Russian films, and was produced by Englishman Ben Brahms. It was England’s entry at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival.

Watching this you’ll feel doubly sorry for the Russian hockey coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov. At least most of his team will likely be able to high-tail it out of Sochi back to their NHL jobs.

Lost in Siberia is available to watch free via FilmOn:

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