What We Are Watching Today: The Death of Stalin 

Updated 03 May 2018

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.


Miss Egypt hopeful as the 2019 Miss Universe kicks off in Atlanta

The 68th edition of the Miss Universe pageant is currently underway at the Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, Georgia. AFP
Updated 08 December 2019

Miss Egypt hopeful as the 2019 Miss Universe kicks off in Atlanta

  • Egypt's Diana Hamed is the only contestant representing the Arab world at the 68th edition of Miss Universe
  • On Dec. 6, she took to the stage at the pre-coronation national costume contest to show off her patriotic side

DUBAI: The 68th edition of the Miss Universe pageant is currently underway at the Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, Georgia, where The Philippines' Catriona Gray is set to crown her successor on Dec. 8. 

The pageant kicked off on Dec. 7 with the Preliminary and National Costume Competition at Atlanta’s Marriott Marquis where the Miss Universe contestants are competing for a spot in the top 20.

Among the hopeful contestants who hail from 90 different countries and territories is Diana Hamed, the reigning Miss Egypt, who take home the crown for Miss Universe Egypt 2019, a title previously held by Egyptian icon Iolanda Gigliotti— more commonly known as Dalida— the winner of the 1954 competition. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

From today’s dinner dress by: @elhamalyousif

A post shared by Miss Universe Egypt 2019 (@dianahamed_) on

The 20-year-old beat out 19 other contestants on Oct. 20 to accept the crown from her predecessor Nariman Khaled at a jam-packed ceremony at Cairo’s Al Massah Hotel. The beauty queen was selected by an expert panel that comprised of the National Director of Miss Universe Hoda Abboud, Egyptian fashion designer Hany El Beheiry and actress Nermine El Feky, among others.

Aya Abdel Razek was crowned the first runner-up, while Mirna Makkawi was the second runner up.

Hamed is the only contestant representing the Arab world in the highly-televised competition, which is once again being hosted by American television presenter Steve Harvey.

Hailing from Cairo, the business student took to the stage on Dec. 6 for the pre-coronation National Costume Contest to show off her patriotic side by donning a stunning red and gold ensemble paired with a crown to represent her country.

The business student took to the stage on Dec. 6 for the pre-coronation National Costume Contest to show off her patriotic side. Instagram

Miss Universe 2019 will be crowned by the reigning Catriona Gray. If Hamed wins, she will receive a one-year contract with the Miss Universe Organization, which will see her traveling overseas to perform charity work and raise awareness for diseases and education. The winner will also receive room and board in a luxury apartment in New York City plus cash allowance for her entire reign, a New York Film Academy scholarship, a modeling portfolio with WME IMG, which happens to be the Miss Universe parent organization, a year supply of beauty products, a custom-styled new wardrobe, and healthcare, as well as invitations to events such as fashion shows, movie premieres and opening galas throughout New York.