Khrustalyov, My Car!
June 23, 2012
“Khrustalyov, my car!” is supposedly the excited cry for his chauffeur uttered by the infamous Soviet security chief Beria as he hurried from Stalin’s deathbed. Guerman’s film is a feverish, frantic evocation of Moscow in January 1953 as Stalin lay dying. Consistent with Guerman’s habit of observing history indirectly, Khrustalyov, My Car! follows the itinerary of a surgeon whose life, and that of his family, is thrown into turmoil by the infamous “Doctor's Plot,” in which a group of predominately Jewish Moscow doctors were fingered as members of a conspiracy to assassinate Soviet leaders. Guerman creates a consistently amazing visual and aural rendition of the charged atmosphere of those sad times, in which no point of view is ever fixed, no shadow devoid of possible danger, nor any stray remark free from potentially lethal consequences.