Nov 2, 2017 in Review

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 a 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.

Ivan  and  Anastasia  take  for  granted  that  their  “Master”  Stalin  day  and  night  cares  for  welfare  of  his  citizens.  The  cult  of  personality  is  one  of  the  most  significant  features  of  totalitarian  regime  that  the  main  heroes  are  living  in.  Ivan  does  not  dare  say  something  bad  about  his  “Master”.  He  would  rather  believe  in  that  Jesus  Christ  was  not  a  Son  of  God  than  in  that  such  a  warm-hearted  person  as  Stalin  is  able  to  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  system  and  it  is  impossible  to  avoid  it.  Andrei  Konchalovsky  points  out  that  Stalin  regime  is  possible  due  to  those  men  like  Ivan,  who  do  not  see  their  irony  and  absurdity.   

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  pre-war  Soviet  Union .  Some  episodes  were  very  moving,  for  example,  the  visit  of  Anastasia  of  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  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  historical  background   at  the  same  time.

Related essays