What We Are Watching Today: The Death of Stalin 

Updated 03 May 2018
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What We Are Watching Today: The Death of Stalin 

  • Armando Iannucci's film extracts a wickedly dark humor from one of the darkest periods of the 20th century
  • “The Death of Stalin” is not easy to watch, but the star cast are scarily convincing as the mad power struggle at the top of one of history’s most destructive regimes unfolds

What happens in a brutal totalitarian dictatorship when the person who was at the pinnacle of power is suddenly no more? That’s the question tackled by this 2017 Armando Iannucci film that extracts a wickedly dark humor from one of the darkest periods of the 20th century.

“The Death of Stalin” continues the director’s trademark acerbic wit and foul-mouthed, quick-fire dialogue, which was made famous in the British TV comedy satirizing modern government, “The Thick of It.”

The drama charts the scrabbling for survival of the Soviet Union’s most powerful figures, who had survived the dictator’s purges of Communist Party members. They desperately jostle for position while still professing loyalty to their dead leader, setting up farcical set pieces, including an excruciating autopsy scene. 

All the while, preparations for Stalin’s funeral are under way as the leadership must not flinch in demonstrating reverence for their fallen leader to the masses. 

“The Death of Stalin” is not easy to watch, but the star cast, including Michael Palin as Molotov and Steve Buscemi as Khrushchev, are scarily convincing as the mad power struggle at the top of one of history’s most destructive regimes unfolds.

The film also offers a salutary lesson on the checks and balances of power at a time when authoritarianism is again on the rise.


The Six: Female rappers from the Middle East who are changing the game

Updated 50 min 41 sec ago
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The Six: Female rappers from the Middle East who are changing the game

DUBAI: These women are changing the face of rap in the Middle East with their bold lyrics and powerful prose.

Soultana

This Moroccan female rapper champions women’s rights and uses bold lyrics to tackle social issues. True to her feisty form, Soultana’s hit “Sawt Nissa” addresses sexual harassment in her home country.

Shadia Mansour

The British-Palestinian rapper uses hip-hop to highlight the Palestinian struggle. Mansour sees music as a medium for expressing dissent.

Mayam Mahmoud

The Egyptian rapper, who has been featured on CNN and the BBC for her efforts to advance women’s rights and combat sexual harassment, is making a name for herself on the rap scene.

Meryem Saci

The music of the Montreal-based songwriter of Algerian origin ranges from soulful R&B and jazz to reggae and hip-hop. Saci’s mixtape, “On My Way,” is a testament to her eclectic sound.

Malikah

The self-proclaimed “Queen of Arabic hip-hop” has established herself as one of the most important musicians in Lebanon and beyond with hard-hitting lyrics. She even opened the show for Snoop Dog in Abu Dhabi in 2011.