In comparison to the content you have been provided in class: a. Which sections of the movie would you consider most accurate and or valuable in gaining an understanding of the rise and rule of Joseph Stalin? b. Which section(s) of the movie would you consider least accurate and/or limited in gaining an understanding of the rise and rule of Joseph Stalin? [img][/img]
The dramatic qualities of any movie put the characters and events in some perspective - even documentaries. The first scene that comes to mind, is the Kirov murder and a scene before that. Unlike the book, here it clearly seems as though Stalin organized the murder or so the NKVD - when a new official was send from Moscow, Stalin clearly expressed some sneaky scheme in his conversation with Trotsky? who sensed that something was wrong. In the murder scene itself, it was shown that Boris - Kirov's body guard - was held back by NKVD guards, who were leaving just as Kirov arrived. At first they simply started talking to him, but then blocked him. It was obvious that in the customized plot of the movie, the NKVD organized the murder. A series of minor comments and scenes gave a slighly more obvious description of characthers. Comments like "He has to be Stalin; what would the people think otherwise?" - proved that Stalin had actual support. Putting out a cigarette butt on his wife's neck shows how he publicly was doing his best to show himself as strong and powerful. Other remarks such as "Idiot, can't even shoot himself" - added to the fact that Stalin was insanely independent from any people around him, his decisions were purely political. The only love or caring we see him exhibit, is for his daugther (by the time he has solidified power - imagine a graph with one axis power the other relationship - power up, relationship down). Many other of his remarks seemed to purely be makers of the film having him express his nature, "Stalin doesn't take orders unless he agrees with them" - on the train.
a. Which sections of the movie would you consider most accurate and or valuable in gaining an understanding of the rise and rule of Joseph Stalin?
The image of Stalin vs. Trotsky is very powerfully portrayed in this movie. Stalin has spoken negatively against Trotsky behind his back and Trotsky has numerous times disagreed with Stalin. For example, before Lenin died, when Stalin found out that Trotsky had come to see Lenin, he was furious.
After Lenin's death Stalin started to plot his own block with Zinoviev and Kamenev on his side, going against Trotsky and thinking of ways how to get rid of him or replace him.
They portrayed how much the citizens trusted Stalin very dramatically, when Stalin's wife was on he train, a women ran up to her begging her to pass Stalin the news that they are in miserable conditions. They believed that the great comrade Stalin would never allow these conditions.
I agree when Martins says: "...his decisions were purely political..." he was rude to his son, wife and all others that he could not benefit from. It was portrayed that in his world "the strongest survives." He co-operated with those party members that could push him forward and work for him.
Stalin, as a symbol of authority and respect was haunting everybody, it was like Stalin looked down on you every where you go. When he called Yagoda, he came out of the shower,with a terrifying face expression, not taking his time to dress, walked to the phone with his back straight and with a serious attitude. This scene showed Stalin's power over the people.
b. Which section(s) of the movie would you consider least accurate and/or limited in gaining an understanding of the rise and rule of Joseph Stalin?
The attitude of people surrounding Stalin was at times unbelievable, Stalin's wife was shown as very independent, with her own ideas, and always disagreeing with Stalin, even in public. I do not think that Stalin would allow such attitude towards him.
The free way he talked with his comrades also looked impossible, he had to portray himself as a man to be scared of and as an authority.
a) I think the movie portrayed well what kind of a personality Stalin had. Comments like "Stalin only takes orders when he agrees with them" or "Idiot, can't even shoot himself" as well as some of his actions like showing up at a wedding he wasn't invited to shows how careless he seems about other people and how he seems to see himself as someone better than everyone else.
b) What was very inaccurate was how Stalin's wife was portrayed. I doubt that she was actually that independent and willing to criticize Stalin. Also I highly doubt that for such a long time as it is shown in the movie she had no Idea what kind of crimes her husband was commiting.
I agree with Anselm and I also have something to add to that.
The way Stalin appointed new NKVD leaders and got rid of opposition was also well projected and gave a more details picture of how people close to him were in greater danger than the rest of the population.
Another comment that portrayed Stalin's personality was ''thank you for your ideas'' which he said after a meeting in which he did not let annyone interrupt him.
I also believe that his wife was in no way so independent. I also think that his daughter, when she got older was always showing him that she wasn't scared of him and that she was not under his control, but in this case it might really have been the case.
a) Some parts of the movie are really accurate. For example, the attempt of suicide by Stalin's first son Yakov, and the quote from Stalin "he can't even shoot straight" (btw, he is also the one who was captured by the Germans in WWII, not the second son ). Also the Kirov murder (btw, they stopped Medvedev in the corridor, not Boris) and other historic scenes are portrayed accurately. b)The movie shows Stalin's family as very independent, or as people who can disagree with Stalin. I think this is highly improbable, especially in public and it sometimes was shown in the movie (the scene before Stalin's wife is killed). Also, some of the phrases from Stalin a just too good to be true like " You're and idiot Molotov... You will go very far"
a) The historical information seems to be well portrayed and in shown an accurate manner, as well as the dramatic portion that defines the time period. Except for the historical events, the movie definitely shows exactly what Joseph Stalin was like. The cruelty, the aggresiveness, and the will to be the most powerful is expressed very accurately. It is not just shown by some action, but is also spoken. For example, as Nadezhda tells her mother and father that he truly is cruel.
b) The big exaggeration is the way Stalin's wife acts and reacts to him and his actions. She is very open about her thoughts and opinions, and seems to be not one bit afraid of him, until the moment when she tells him about how the woman told her to pass on to Joseph that their wood is taken away, and they do not have any food, etc.
She seemed to be a great woman-always willing to help anyone, but Stalin chose to disrespect her and always put her down. Nadezhda decided to take Stalin's son from the first marriage into the house, even though he had never told her about Yakov. She tried to make the best possible living conditions and environment for everyone, but it did not work and she wasn't thanked.
Basically, the way Nadezhda tried to be outspoken, seems to be least accurate information.
A. i found the scene where Lenin's Testimony was read infront Stalin, Trotsky and all the other members of the party accurate and valuable. the silence of Trotsky and vibrancy (if thats a word) of Stalin really gave me a feeling of actually why Stalin took power and Trotsky did not. the movie was a visual aid to my imagination of what actually happened in history.
B. i found every scene where there was no Stalin or Bolshevik leaders get shot an inaccurate and limited understanding to Stalin's gaining power. i specifically want to point on the scenes where the daughter comes in with a short dress, watches Charlie Chaplin or when the wife goes home to her parents. whenever we see Stalin in uniform or when we see some people getting shot then that helps us understand Stalin's history. other than that, everything else seemed irrelevent to Stalin gaining power
I believe that the movie overall was accurate in terms of the events that took place in the movie. I think that the scenes involving Stalin's rise to power after Lenin's death were accurate especiially his relationship with Trostky.
The only part of the movie that I believe might not be too accurate is with Stalin's wife. For example I find hard to believe that she was able to criticize and shout at her husband during a party event where many people were gathered. I think this scene was merely added to make the movie more interesting. Also of course Stalin's death scene was exaggerated in order to make the end of the movie more interesting.
A) -The Cult of Stalin (people not stoping to clap and cheer even after he has said something irrelevant) - The respect people had against Stalin (sometimes it was a mixture of respect and fear) -His way of dealing with opposition (Die or if your lucky you get a choice to sign a piece of paper saying something that would help Stalin or get killed, or third option you get sent off somewhere and then get killed) B ) -Stalin's wife ( she seemed too emotional and kept opposing to some, in fact most of what Stalin did, I just see that happening off the screen! Also it never mentioned, as far as I remember, that she suffered from a mental illness, bipolar disorder)
Stalin's NKVD, in my opinion, was very well represented in the film. The setting of the prison (the filming of which, if I'm not mistaken, took place in the actual ex-prison) added an uneasy mood to the picture, emphasizing the terror of NKVD and, naturally, Stalin's power. The director's view on the Great Purges seemed like a rather accurate, realistic portrayal of Stalin's actions, the heavy knocks on the doors gave a tingling feeling inside. His icy personality was also shown using his older son Yakov which was fairly accurate, and towards the end of Nadezhda's life, his attitude towards her. It was also well displayed that Stalin had no pity, for he insisted his old friend kills himself.
The main weakness of the movie, I believe, which is also supposed to be one of the main themes, is the relationship of Stalin and his second wife Nadezhda. Her strength and independence shown in the film seems very artificial and unrealistic. What I longed for was to closely see the relationship between Stalin and Trotsky, I think Trotsky's intelligence deserved more credit. Even the story of Stalin could be turned into a sentimental, and I'd go as far and even call it a cliche, Hollywood film. The director often ends up manipulating and exaggerating some actions of the dictator, which screams out Hollywood.