„There is no death here! There is only eternal life! Immortality! Stalin’s immortality is in his deeds. It is in Communism that we shall achieve. We shall certainly achieve it, for Stalin taught us how to!” (anonymous voice over)
When Joseph Stalin died in March 1953, his death plunged the Soviet Union into a state of national mourning, with expressions of bereavement extended across the entire breadth of the country that culminated four days later in the dictator’s grand funeral in the Red Square. Almost seven decades later, Sergei Loznitsa dissects the grandiose rites of the “Grand Farewell”, through the meticulous montage of rare and long-forgotten archival footage. Forgoing to make any explicit statements and resorting instead to meaning derived from the association of sounds and images, the documentary succeeds in presenting history as a ritual, dominated by the propaganda machine of a tyrannical figure whose legacy still haunts the contemporary world.