Netherlands / Lithuania 2019, 132 min, Russian, Hebrew & English subtitles
The moment Joseph Stalin’s heart stopped, on March 5, 1953, was the beginning of the personality cult that turned Stalin from the flesh-and-blood father of a nation into a god. Throughout the Soviet Union, loudspeakers announced the news of his death, workers stood idle and listened, and the masses bowed their heads and cried.
Using rare archive footage gathered from hundreds of sources and reconstructed specially for this film, Director Sergey Loznitsa (whose film Austerlitz was screened at Docaviv) managed to map the soul of a nation that worshipped its leaders. The tiniest details of the funeral preparations, the eulogies, the reception at the Moscow airport, the flower arrangements around the body at the mausoleum—all come together into a shockingly clear image of life in the USSR.
Previous Festivals: Venice Film Festival, NYFF, TIFF