Welcome to episode three of Reel History! This week we delve head first into the paranoid pressure cooker of Stalin’s Soviet Union as we feast our eyes on the comedic pantomime that is Armando Lannucci’s “The Death of Stalin“ (2017). Based on the graphic novel “La Mort de Staline” by Fabien Nury & Thierry Robin this film (now available on Netflix) is graced with real acting pedigree.
Steve Buscemi plays the wily Kruschev as Michael Palin sets Molotov alight. Jeffrey Tambor is irrepressible as Malenkov whilst Jason Isaacs exudes martial prowess in the role of General Zhukov. The film centers around the tumultuous hours leading up to and following the death of the Red Tsar. We witness the politburo’s back stabbing, often hilariously incompetent power struggle as Beria battles Kruschev for supremacy of a Cold War superpower.
We take advantage of this setting to explore the fascinating, if often tragic wider context of the events leading up to the revolutionary birth of the Soviet Union and Joseph Stalin’s domination of the lives of millions within. We follow Stalins bloody journey from his early “koba” years as an underground, bank robbing Bolshevik to his struggle to seize power and enact his terrifying vision of Socialism in one country.
All this whilst learning about his passion for gardening and penchent for love letters and worryingly tweetable quotes! 🙂
“Stalin A Biography” by Robert Service (2004) .
“Stalin – The Court of the Red Tsar” by Simon Sebag Montfiore (2003) .
“Russia : A 1000 Year Chronicle of the Wild East “ by Martin Sixsmith (2011)