Tom Hulce (Animal House, Amadeus)
Lolita Davidovich (Intersection, Gods and Monsters) and
Bob Hoskins (Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Nixon)

Directed by:
Andrei Konchalovsky

The Inner Circle* (1992), is a film about the Soviet system and it's psychological effects on the people under it. Tom Hulce plays Ivan Sanshin, a movie projectionist who is suddenly whisked away from his job showing propaganda films at KGB headquarters, to showing movies for Stalin and the top brass in the Kremlin.

Meanwhile, his wedding night with his new wife Anastasia (Davidovich), is interrupted by KGB agents arresting his neighbor in one of Stalin's many purges.  The neighbor's daughter, Katya, is taken the next day.  Anastasia expresses a wish to adopt the girl, but Ivan forbids it, as it would create difficulties for him at work. How would it look if they adopted the child of traitors to the motherland?

One of the striking things in the movie is the characters hero worship of Stalin, even as you can see the palpable fear on their faces if there is a knock on the door.  Is it the KGB?  The Russian professor who introduced the film pointed this out, and explained it as a cultural attitude of the Russian people.  Since Vladimir, King of the Rus brought religion to the Russian people they have accepted a ruler as a God given thing, wither it was despotic czars - such as Catherine the Great - or communist dictators.

Anastasia, despite her husband's command goes to see Katya at the orphanage where she is living.  Katya begs Anastasia to take her home with her, but Anastasia keeps telling her that her parents will come to collect her and that they are good people.  Katya responds that she wouldn't want to live with them, that they are traitors and should be shot; the communist indoctrination already taking effect.  Anastasia pleads with Ivan to adopt Kata, but he refuses.  She then asks him, "Who do you love more?  Me or Stalin?"  You can imagine his response.

I don't want to give away any more of the plot, but the question stated above changes many times, as the turblence of war and the pressures of the system change.

(And for those of you who do see the movie notice how the use of water is incorperated into portraying the psychological torture Ivan must indure.)

*(Also known as Blizhnij krug)

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