State Funeral

  • Sergei Loznitsa
  • Netherlands, Lithuania
  • 2019
  • 135 min
  • Dutch Premiere
  • Masters, Focus: Re-releasing History
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From the broadcasters, newspapers and posters announcing the news of Stalin’s death in bombastic tones, to the endless procession of mourners sobbing as they pay their last respects to their “red czar,” to the ceremonial burial in the mausoleum, this film observes each phase of the solemn rites surrounding the funeral of Joseph Stalin in March 1953.

In the tradition of his earlier films on the legacy of the Soviet Union, Sergei Loznitsa draws on existing material. Much of this previously unseen footage is in color; the “Kremlin Red” flowers, streamers and flags contrast intensely with the backdrop of snow-covered streets, gray-clad citizens and drab factories. Even far away from Moscow, workers lay down their work to commemorate their party leader.

This utterly grotesque event—to which the director does further justice with the factual historical information at the end—reveals the pain and absurdity of life and death under a tyrannical regime based on a personality cult.

Credits

  • 135 min
  • color / black and white
  • DCP
  • Spoken languages: Russian
  • Subtitles in: English
Director
Sergei Loznitsa
Production
Maria Choustova for Atoms & Void, Sergei Loznitsa for Atoms & Void
Co-production
Studio Uljana Kim
Editing
Danielius Kokanauskis
Sound
Vladimir Golovnitski
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IDFA history

2019
Dutch Premiere
Masters
Focus: Re-releasing History

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IDFA history