How do Stalin and the church go together? In the Georgian village of Tsromi, he is standing in front of this typical ecclesiastical structure. It’s true, his aura is flaking, his right hand and his former empire are gone and his eyes roam over the cows and geese on the dusty village street. Then again, people left him alone for half a century. Until the day a convent claims not only the former house of culture but the church and its yard, and, also, that Stalin is to be removed. Emotions are running high; can you expect the nuns to practically share a roof with a man who fought a relentless battle against religion?
Shalva Shengeli highlights a myth in picturesque images and with the absurd humour of Georgian comedies. In the realm of ‘homo sovieticus’, where ‘leaders’ were glorified as religious figures, where pictures of Stalin are put next to icons and the orthodox Church recently published a Stalin calendar. The film looks at how the past is remembered, which can provide access to the present through showing how this history is created. In the meantime, will the patriarch, Stalin, get a new hand to show his people the way.
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