The film turns the real-life machinations of Stalin’s subordinates into an uproarious, political spoof. And its timing couldn’t be better.
“I feel like Trump, in his own way, is killing art,” actor David Duchovny told me recently. “I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the difference between art and gesture, because it seems like there’s so much gesture everywhere. I’m interested in politics, but I’m thinking about it all the time. It’s exhausting. But then art is a luxury, so maybe this is the time when we have to deal with what’s real.”
Duchovny’s comments came back to me while watching Armando Iannucci’s “The Death of Stalin,” a film about the power struggle in the Soviet Union in the immediate aftermath of the brutal leader’s death. A remarkable, dark comedy, it turns the real-life machinations of Stalin’s subordinates into an uproarious, political spoof through some of the more biting satire in recent memory. And the timing is impeccable: Today’s news seems stranger — and less funny — than ever.
“In extreme situations, when everything is falling apart, people should turn to humor,” says Monty Python alum Michael Palin, who plays Stalin intimate Vyacheslav Molotov. According to Palin, the comedy of the Pythons and the comedy in “The Death of Stalin” aren’t all that dissimilar. Both speak truth to power and shine a spotlight on the ridiculousness of it all, making the movie feel perfectly tailored for the Trump era.
“Humor is a very strong force for dealing with people who have gone power mad,” Palin told me. “It’s the one thing that they can’t really deal with; they can deal with any kind of opposition, but being laughed at they really don’t like.” [ . . . ]
Read More at Source: NBC NEWS Armando Iannucci’s ‘The Death of Stalin’ is a darkly perfect satire for a reality that feels stranger than fiction
Actors and directors criticise film-maker for likening movement to ‘mob rule’ and remarks about Weinstein scandal
The film director Terry Gilliam has come under fire from Hollywood actors and directors for comparing the #MeToo movement to “mob rule”.
The former Monty Python member suggested the anti-sexual harassment campaign had led to a “world of victims” in an interview with Agence France-Presse.
While describing Harvey Weinstein as a “monster”, he added that the disgraced producer was only exposed because he was such an “asshole”.
Gilliam said: “Harvey opened the door for a few people, a night with Harvey – that’s the price you pay.
“I think some people did very well out of meeting with Harvey and others didn’t. The ones who did, knew what they were doing. These are adults; we are talking about adults with a lot of ambition.” [ . . . ]
More at THE GUARDIAN: Hollywood condemns Terry Gilliam for #MeToo comments
Terry Gilliam recently spoke movingly about his namesake and Monty Python colleague Terry Jones. The latter has been suffering with dementia and Gilliam said: “You see a friend, somebody you know really well, kind of disappearing … It’s really sad because there’s nothing one can do about it.”
The pair co-directed Monty Python and the Holy Grail before Jones took on sole directing duties with Life of Brian and the troupe’s final movie The Meaning of Life (1983). While not as acclaimed as its predecessors, perhaps as a result of its sketch format, The Meaning of Life still contains some of the funniest scenes ever committed to film.
The writing process was far from easy. The two previous Python films had employed loose structures but retained a narrative of sorts. With their final film, Michael Palin has said they opted to “give it the loosest structure, the meaning of life” since they had lots of material but no obvious through line. John Cleese believes the film was “a bit of a cock-up” and the other Pythons have also suggested it was not up to their previous big-screen efforts. Despite this, it was awarded the Grand Jury Prize at the 1983 Cannes Film Festival and has several iconic moments.[ . . . ] Read More at: Movies You Might Have Missed: Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life