|Source of story
||Based on a French graphic novel La Mort de Stalin by Fabien Nury and Thierry Robin
||Fabien Nury, Armando Iannucci, David Schneider, Ian Martin and additional material Peter Fellows.
||The film is currently banned in Russia, Kyrgystan, Aserbaijan and Kazakhstan on the basis that it is “aimed at inciting hatred and emnity, violating the dignity of the Russian people, promoting ethnic and social inferiority, which points to the film’s extremist nature”.
||Olga Kurylenko, Tom Brooke, Paddy Considine, Simon Russell Beale, Jeffrey Tambor, Steve Buscemi, Michael Palin, Paul Whitehouse, Andrea Riseborough, Rupert Friend, Diana Quick, Jason Isaacs (hello to).
||When Stalin has a stroke, possibly as a result of seeing a note accusing him of genocide, the members of the Central Committee are thrown into chaos as they jockey for position, while keeping in mind that the dictator may recover. Stalin has purged the medical profession in Moscow so it takes many hours to assemble some doctors to administer aide, and finally he dies. Beria, the head of the NKVD, confines the army to barracks and begins to issue liberal reforms in order to gain popular support and it takes the arrival of Marshall Zhukov, head of the army, to alter the balance of power.
||There is panic as Stalin asks for a recording of a concert which has not in fact been recorded, requiring a new performance. Scenes in Stalin’s dasha where he is taken ill and the Politburo assemble. The ministers meet and argue a lot. At various points there are people shot as different factions gain control. Stalin’s alcoholic son intervenes madly. A lot of peasants trying to pay homage to the dead leader are gunned down.
||Everything to do with the concert is wonderfully presented and laugh out loud funny, but after that things become darker. I was a bit disturbed by the almost random killing of the soldiers from one side or the other (the army or the NKVD), and it would do no harm to do a bit of research about the various ministers and the period before viewing this. I remember Khruschev’s subsequent visit to UK when he was head of state, and the names of the others were almost irritatingly familiar. Definitely worth the ticket price, so go for it, particularly if you are familiar with the director’s work.