Stalin’s Disciples

1 hour and 35 Minutes and 36 seconds , 1987
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Directed by: Nadav Levitan
Production: Doron Eran Productions, Tel Aviv
Cast: Shmuel Shilo, Yossi Kantz, Hugo Yarden, Rachel Dobson, Aharon Almog, Ezra Dagan, Doron Golan

Members of a kibbutz founded by Zionist youth movement, Hashomer Hatzair (‘the young guard’) are bereft when the news of Stalin’s death breaks in 1953. Leading the community are three cobblers, all of whom sport distinctly Stalinist moustaches – they are Mosco, Leibel, and Avrema’le (Hugo Yarden, Yossi Kantz, and Shmuel Shiloh). Through their own individual rude awakenings which culminate in the cathartic shaving off of their moustaches upon learning of Stalin’s atrocities, viewers are offered a glimpse of communism sympathisers’ collective disillusionment in 1950s Israel, and the cracks that were starting to form within Israel’s Zionist socialist left. The film was featured in the Cannes Film Festival’s ‘Un Certain Regard’ section.

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