What is to be done? After Joseph Stalin was found unconscious in his dacha in March 1953, the rest of the leadership of the Communist Party reacted numbed. No one dared fetch a doctor, which would also have been difficult because Stalin had banished all his doctors. In the resulting power vacuum, everyone was primarily interested in saving their own skin.
The scheming and power games in the Kremlin are grist to the mill of Armando Iannucci, the Scottish maestro of political satire (The Thick of It, Veep). With a great cast of English-speaking actors, he shows the cynical and thoroughly rotten battle for power that is soon fought out between Lavrenti Beria, the feared former boss of the security services, and the shrewd Nikita Khrushchev. Iannucci's pitch-black comedy is extremely funny, but does not shirk from showing the horrors of Stalin’s vicious regime. Parallels with today’s international politics are obvious. Closing Film IFFR 2018.