An almost hour-long and, on a surface level, extremely dull documentary from Dziga Vertov commemorating the death of old-time Bolshevik and Stalin collaborator Sergo Ordzhonikidze, made almost exactly in the style of Vertov's earlier docs on Lenin's death. Starts with an archival speech, commemorations harangued to dutiful crowds gathered in the snow, the open coffin with Stalin, Khrushchev and others looking on, etc. What gives this film a piece of extra interest comes when the viewer knows what the doc doesn't mention: that Sergo was a victim of Stalin's Great Terror and either committed suicide or was forced to after Stalin attempted to have the NKVD arrest him. Sergo's suicide allowed him to avoid the trumped-up charges of treason, the torture, the forced confession that would have inevitably followed. Now one sees not the dutiful leader looking down on his friend and co-worker in sorrow, but a murderer viewing the corpse of one of his thousands of victims and the people around him, all wondering if they would be next.
Pamyati Sergo Ordzhonikidze (1937)
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