70TH ANNIVERSARY OF COMRADE STALIN
During last year’s retrospective dedicated to the Cinema of the Dictators it wasn’t possible to show one of the most significant testimonies to the Stalin personality cult, the documentary film made for Stalin’s 70th birthday celebration. We show it this year, together with Enno Patalas’s splendid television programme on relations between Stalin and the cinema, rich in fresh interviews with witnesses of the period.
The film is a documentary on the Stalin cult and, at the same time, a testament to his final fulfillment. It’s different from Romm’s film, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, in that there are no scenes taken from Stalin’s past; we only see him filmed during his birthday celebration at the Bolshoi, hence in obsequious cult images.
The parts of the film dedicated to exalting the “Life and Works of Stalin”, don’t use scenes of Stalin at work, but rather his accomplishments as they are exhibited in museums – as pictures, monuments, etc.. Hence, a part of the film is a sort of excursion through an archipelago of “museum islands”: commemorative monuments in the places that witnessed his life and works, transformed into small museums. In this way Vassili Beljajew’s film became a guide to the Stalin cult interior. (Enno Patalas)