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.


French-Tunisian star Sonia Ben Ammar joins the cast of ‘Scream 5’

Updated 20 September 2020

French-Tunisian star Sonia Ben Ammar joins the cast of ‘Scream 5’

DUBAI:Up-and-coming French-Tunisian singer, model and actor Sonia Ben Ammar has joined the cast of “Scream 5,”  it’s been revealed this week.

 According to Variety, production on Spyglass Media and Paramount Pictures’ upcoming relaunch of the  famous horror film franchise is set to begin later this month.

Filmmaking duo Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, who are behind “Ready or Not,” are directing the forthcoming film.

The first “Scream” film was released in 1996, well before Ben Ammar was even born.  A smash hit upon its debut, the movie helped to revive the horror genre, becoming the highest-grossing slasher movie of all-time. 

This will be Paris-born Ammar’s first high-profile Hollywood gig as an actress. She along with other young franchise newcomers will be joining returning cast members David Arquette, Courteney Cox and Neve Campbell, who are all reprising their iconic roles as Dewey Riley, Gale Weathers and Sidney Prescott.

Plot details for the new film, set to debut in theaters on Jan. 14, 2022, are still under wraps,  so it is not yet known what role the French-Arab star will be taking on.

“I’m SCREAMing of excitement!! (sic)” wrote the 21-year-old on Instagram, announcing the news to her 730,000 social media followers. “Incredibly grateful to be part of one of my favorite franchises. 2nd photo is my face when I got the call lol (sic),” she captioned a screenshot of Variety’s article announcing the news and a blurry snap of her clearly overjoyed. 

However, it’s not the multi-hyphenate model’s first foray into the film industry.

Ben Ammar, who is the daughter of Tunisian film director Tarek Ben Ammar and actress Beata, previously starred in Guillaume Canet’s French-language film “Jappeloup” as well as the stage musical “1789: Les Amants de la Bastille.”

She’s also appeared in several music videos, including “Drivin’ Thru the Night” by DJ Petit Biscuit, as well as clips for her own singles, such as “Joyride” from her debut EP.

In addition to music, Ben Ammar is also a rising model, and has worked for many major brands such as Dolce & Gabbana, Miu Miu, Carolina Herrera and Chanel, among other prestigious fashion houses.