ON SCREEN · FILM
The Death of Stalin
An uproarious, wickedly irreverent satire about the scramble for power by Stalin’s cronies (Jeffrey Tambor, Steve Buscemi, Jason Isaacs).
“Armando Iannucci’s lacerating comedy lampoons Stalinist Russia to within an inch of its life.” —Variety
The one-liners fly as fast as political fortunes fall in this uproarious, wickedly irreverent satire from Armando Iannucci (Veep, In the Loop). Moscow, 1953: when tyrannical dictator Joseph Stalin drops dead, his parasitic cronies square off in a frantic power struggle to be the next Soviet leader. Among the contenders are the dweeby Georgy Malenkov (Jeffrey Tambor), the wily Nikita Khrushchev (Steve Buscemi) and the sadistic secret police chief Lavrentiy Beria (Simon Russell Beale).
But as they bumble, brawl and backstab their way to the top, just who is running the government? Combining palace intrigue with rapid-fire farce, this audacious comedy is a bitingly funny takedown of bureaucratic dysfunction—and has already been banned in Russia.
D: Armando Iannucci, UK, 2018, Runtime: 1h46m
FROM THE DIRECTOR
Check out this op-ed in the New York Times, written by director Armando Iannucci about the banning of his film in Russia:
The Russian minister of culture has banned my new movie, “The Death of Stalin.” He said its satire was part of a Western plot to destabilize the country. Now the Russian presidential election is looming, and we all know how vehemently Vladimir Putin despises the idea of anyone interfering in the elections of a foreign power; so onto the blacklist my movie went, and no one in Russia is officially allowed to see it.
The last thing I expected was hearty congratulations, but that’s what I got from many film industry insiders. Bouquets of tweets and emails arrived telling me what smart publicity this was and how great this would look on our posters; the Russians had given us a marketing campaign no money could buy.
I had to tell these same insiders that publicity is effective only if it leads more people to buy the product you’re selling, and since my product was banned, then it could not, by definition, be bought. It’s roughly how the marketing director of napalm must feel: He or she can dream up the most imaginative posters, but it won’t make the product more readily available in the shops.Read the full New York Times article