THE DEATH OF STALIN – Review by Martha P. Nochimson

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It is a truism that movie sci-fi and historical fiction are distorting mirrors that protect us from our current realities, and allow us a more unthreatening way of thinking about them. Through these genres, our worst fears are distanced into a past now extinct, or projected into a future that need not ever be. Better yet, movies can give the past and/or the future a satiric twist. More distance. Less threat. Much less pain. You can’t get a better deflector for these dark days in the United States than a serio-comic farce set in the now defunct Soviet Union in 1953, as the mammoth country was given an opportunity to emerge from the rigid structure of Stalin’s tyranny. The Death of Stalin (2017) directed by political satirist Armando Ianucci is such film, a comic tour de force about the anarchy hidden within despotism. Reducing giants from Communist history to petty, bumbling, and/or bombastic fools, and the tragedies that were daily occurrences in the Soviet Union to background noise, it scoops up its audience to tread dexterously on a high wire above our current, raging anxieties about the toxic cult of personality poisoning the United States today. Continue reading on EYE ON MEDIA.

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Martha P. Nochimson

Martha P. Nochimson’s ninth book, Television Rewired: The Rise of the Auteur Series will be published on July 15, 2019. Her earlier work includes The Passion of David Lynch: Wild at Heart in Hollywood; David Lynch Swerves: Uncertainty from Lost Highway to Inland Empire; and Dying to Belong: Gangster Movies in Hollywood and Hong Kong. She has taught at the Tisch School of the Arts (NYU), and she developed and chaired a film studies program for Mercy College. Currently, she is teaching at the David Lynch Graduate Program in Cinematic Arts. She has covered the New York Film Festival for 18 years, and has also covered the Istanbul International Film Festival and the Montreal Film Festival. She is a long time member of the Columbia University Seminar on Cinema and Interdisciplinary Interpretation. She writes AWFJ's EYE ON MEDIA blog.