State Funeral (2019) [Feature]

Netherlands,Lithuania (MIFF 2020 )
Director: Sergei Loznitsa

Documenting the grandiose and surreal proceedings that followed Joseph Stalin’s death in 1953, this engrossing filmic vision reveals the extremities of a population bereft of its glorified figurehead – a country suddenly without a myth to stand on.

Weaving together an incredible amount of unseen archival footage, State Funeral recounts, in exacting detail, the events that transpired across the four-day ceremony – from the visits by socialist bigwigs, to the rousing eulogies and statements, to the thousands upon thousands of citizens marching, weeping and offering flowers for the fallen hero who was nonetheless responsible for millions of Soviet deaths.

Sergei Loznitsa (A Gentle Creature, MIFF 2017) forgoes conventional expository devices in favour of imagery that, in its careful constructedness, points to the relationship between visual poetry and propaganda. State Funeral shines a light on a personality cult, the practicalities of myth-making, and the use of public grief and sanctification as ideological fuels for nationhood.

“Mesmerizing … State Funeral is both awesome and stupefying, conjuring the spectacle of a dead pharaoh laid to rest in a celluloid pyramid of his own design.” – ArtforumDocumenting the grandiose and surreal proceedings that followed Joseph Stalin’s death in 1953, this engrossing filmic vision reveals the extremities of a population bereft of its glorified figurehead – a country suddenly without a myth to stand on.

Weaving together an incredible amount of unseen archival footage, State Funeral recounts, in exacting detail, the events that transpired across the four-day ceremony – from the visits by socialist bigwigs, to the rousing eulogies and statements, to the thousands upon thousands of citizens marching, weeping and offering flowers for the fallen hero who was nonetheless responsible for millions of Soviet deaths.

Sergei Loznitsa (A Gentle Creature, MIFF 2017) forgoes conventional expository devices in favour of imagery that, in its careful constructedness, points to the relationship between visual poetry and propaganda. State Funeral shines a light on a personality cult, the practicalities of myth-making, and the use of public grief and sanctification as ideological fuels for nationhood.

“Mesmerizing … State Funeral is both awesome and stupefying, conjuring the spectacle of a dead pharaoh laid to rest in a celluloid pyramid of his own design.” – ArtforumDocumenting the grandiose and surreal proceedings that followed Joseph Stalin’s death in 1953, this engrossing filmic vision reveals the extremities of a population bereft of its glorified figurehead – a country suddenly without a myth to stand on.

Weaving together an incredible amount of unseen archival footage, State Funeral recounts, in exacting detail, the events that transpired across the four-day ceremony – from the visits by socialist bigwigs, to the rousing eulogies and statements, to the thousands upon thousands of citizens marching, weeping and offering flowers for the fallen hero who was nonetheless responsible for millions of Soviet deaths.

Sergei Loznitsa (A Gentle Creature, MIFF 2017) forgoes conventional expository devices in favour of imagery that, in its careful constructedness, points to the relationship between visual poetry and propaganda. State Funeral shines a light on a personality cult, the practicalities of myth-making, and the use of public grief and sanctification as ideological fuels for nationhood.

“Mesmerizing … State Funeral is both awesome and stupefying, conjuring the spectacle of a dead pharaoh laid to rest in a celluloid pyramid of his own design.” – Artforum

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