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The Death of Stalinism in Bohemia (1991)
"Konec stalinismu v Cechách" (original title)

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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 795 users  
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A bust of Stalin is cut open on an operating table, leading to an elaborate animated depiction of Czech history from 1948 (the Communist takeover) to 1989 (the Velvet Revolution). Some ... See full summary »

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Title: The Death of Stalinism in Bohemia (1991)

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A bust of Stalin is cut open on an operating table, leading to an elaborate animated depiction of Czech history from 1948 (the Communist takeover) to 1989 (the Velvet Revolution). Some knowledge of the subject is essential in order to understand the film, which is entirely visual. Written by Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

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Animation | Short

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1991 (Czechoslovakia)  »

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The Death of Stalinism in Bohemia  »

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User Reviews

 
Great provided you are old enough and informed enough to understand it.
18 May 2009 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

This is an exceptionally good film by the odd stop-motion film maker, Jan Svankmajer--a man known for his "unique" films such as ALICE and JABBERWOCKY. Well, despite being a very unusual film, DEATH OF STALINISM IN BOHEMIA is much, much easier to watch than yet another Gothic stop-motion film (it's downright normal compared to many of his other films), provided you understand about the history of Communism in Czechoslovakia.

The film begins with Stalin's bust giving birth, so to speak, to a puppet government in Czechoslovakia just after WWII. The Stalinist way of doing things, the repression and the grand government that served the will of the USSR is well represented. Then, as each succeeding Soviet leader came to power, the pictures on the wall morph into the new leaders (such as Khrushchev and Brezhnev)--that is, until Gorbachev. Then, the bust of Stalin reappears to symbolize the rebirth of the country with it's so-called "Velvet Revolution"--a peaceful transition to power. Along the way, the mechanization of the Czech people, their unsuccessful revolt against the Soviets in 1968 and their new love of freedom are represented.

The entire story is told using hands and a variety of props, pictures and lots of clay. The process by which the story is told is VERY hard to describe, but it's very original and very enjoyable. Also, by the way, when the freedom under Gorbachev is mentioned, they use some 18th century engravings that are incredibly sexual--representing just how far their new freedom would go. Parents might just want to think twice about showing this portion to young kids.


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