Monday, March 14, 2011

The Gift to Stalin

Rustem Abdrashev's “The Gift to Stalin” feels like a throwback to another era — and that's got nothing to do with the film being set during the lead-up to the USSR's celebration of Stalin's birthday in 1949, when ethnic and political undesirables were shipped off to remote regions like that of Kazakhstan. Surprisingly, this historical epic contains a very-'70s, spare-no-expense-for-art studio aesthetic (its Kazakh producer is an oil and gas man with a private film company) and an engagingly slow-moving, highly detailed narrative that isn't very much in vogue these days. It's a movie a guy like Terence Malick would appreciate — one that lulls rather than forces us into another time, a different world.

To read the rest of my review visit Slant Magazine.

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