Screening in the presence of the screenwriter
The film takes place five days before the death of Stalin in 1953. Klenski, the film’s protagonist, is an army doctor with the rank of general, who tries to conduct himself quietly and to avoid trouble under the regime of the dictator Stalin. His attempt fails as a result of informing and he is sent to prison and undergoes a cruel rape. For some unclear reason he is released and brought to treat a dying man that, as gradually becomes clear, is the dictator Stalin on his death bed. After Stalin’s death, Klenski succeeds in realizing his wish and finds his happiness as a simple railroad worker.
The first part of the film, as German testifies, is autobiographic. German wanted to perpetuate the memory of the reality in which he and his family lived. The second part of the film, from the point of the arrest and onward, is fantasy, what could have happened. In the film, history is represented as a collection of incidents that are somewhat randomly connected to each other, and therefore are not presented as cause and effect, but rather as a chance meeting due to their occurring at the same time and place, at the same cinematic frame. At this stage, German’s cinematic language is crystallized. The frame size shrinks and focuses the eye on details that fill the frame. The viewer has difficulty in finding his way in space but cannot escape and experiences a sense of chaos and suffocation like the heroes that suffocate in the unbearable reality of the Soviet existence. The logic of the dialogue becomes entirely subjective, like a code that is understandable only to its users. There is no extra-diegetic music in the film, since for German it was important that one should hear the steps in the snow and the breathing in space. The reality is the music of the film. The camera pans totally free, and catches the extremities of the events. A cinematic masterpiece that brings to a peak the strength of direction of German.

Credits

Script: סבטלנה קרמליטה, אלכסי גרמן | Cast: יורי צורילו, נינה רוסלנובה, מיכאל דמנטייב
| Camera: ולדימיר ילין | Editing: אירינה גורוחובסקיה | Music: אנדרי פטרוב