Nov 2, 2017 in Review
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Soviet Union

The director of The Inner Circle (1991) Andrei Konchalovsky moves the audience in veritable pre-war Soviet Union. The movie is based on the true story of naïve worker Ivan Sanchin (Tom Hulce) who was Stalin’s private film projectionist and his wife Anastasia (Lolita Davidovich). They live in a basement that they are sharing with a Jewish couple and their little daughter Katya (Mariya Baranova). Maintaining unwavering faith in his "Master" Ivan suddenly gets a top-secret job in the Kremlin. So that is a day of his new life, life in the “inner circle” where he can rub shoulders with Stalin and the power elite, including KGB head Beria. Ivan loves his Comrade Stalin more than anyone, even Anastasia, who risks him by visiting Katya in an orphanage.

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Ivan and Anastasia take for granted that their “Master” Stalin day and night care for the welfare of his citizens. The cult of personality is one of the most significant features of a totalitarian regime that the main heroes are living in. Ivan does not dare say something bad about his “Master”. He would rather believe that Jesus Christ was not a Son of God than in that such a warm-hearted person as Stalin can deceive and seduce people. The main hero becomes blind to appalling things that happen to him: his caring wife has been a rape victim of one of the power elite. Step by step his life is being ruined while he blindly accepts Stalin’s tyranny as a blessing. Little children, growing up in the orphanages, call Stalin his father and wish their real parents (often “the enemies of the people”) to be killed. It is terrifying to be dragged into the system and it is impossible to avoid it. Andrei Konchalovsky points out that the Stalin regime is possible due to those men like Ivan, who do not see their irony and absurdity.

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Real Food for Thought Which has Historical Background

Personally, I was confused after watching The Inner Circle. I was shocked after realizing what a horrible slavish life people had in the pre-war Soviet Union. Some episodes were very moving, for example, the visit of Anastasia to the orphanage where little Katya was. The cast was perfectly chosen especially Tom Hulce who played the main hero. The soundtracks always reflected the atmosphere of the particular situation. I appreciate the work of Andrei Konchalovsky and I strongly recommend watching The Inner Circle. This film is real food for thought which has a historical background at the same time.

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