Archive for February 8th, 2013


by Allan Fish

(UK 2000 180m) not on DVD

The last mass trials were a great success.  There are going to be fewer but better Russians

p  Angus MacQueen, Liana Pomerantsev, Olivia Lichtenstein  d  Angus McQueen  ph  Sergei Astakhov  ed  Sally Hilton, Krista Malinowska  m  Nicolai Parfeniouk, Dimitri Smirnov

So Garbo said in Ninotchka, a line which may then have seemed funny in a macabre way, but which now leaves a very unsavoury taste.  Now we know that what happened in the Gulags was every bit as horrific, every bit as apocalyptic, as those more commonly accepted dark hours of recent history under Hitler’s Nazis.  In the words of the opening caption to Angus MacQueen’s shattering and deeply emotional documentary, “we will never know how many people were victims of Communism between the October Revolution and Stalin’s death in March 1953…” but we have an idea, and either end of the spectrum is frightening.  Stalin himself may have argued that one individual death was a tragedy and a million merely a statistic, but this documentary both proves and disproves that statement, depending on which standpoint you take. (more…)

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