Anna, a young female urologist working in the Moscow of the 1950s is the object of envy and admiration from her peers. Anna has a gift, which exasperates some of her learned colleagues. She practices a healing techniques, using her hands, something that brings immediate comfort to the pain they are experiencing. Anna is happily married to Vassili, a physicist. The couple has been trying to conceive without positive results. Anna is told by her building's concierge she and Vassili are heard making passionate love, something that disturbs the place of the apartment house.
Stalin, ruling the country with an iron fist, has decreed to get rid of all the Jewish doctors because they are seen as a menace. Unfortunately, he was also dying from a mysterious ailment that obviously had no cure. His only alternative was to summon Anna to practice her kind of healing on him, which produced the desired effect, for he was relieved, at least temporarily of the sessions with the doctor.
To complicate things, Stalin wanted to keep his ailments as a secret. Knowing that Anna was married to Vassili, he wanted to make sure of her loyalty, making her lie to her husband about the times she had to be away. Stalin made sure of sending Vassili away so he could have Anna for himself whenever he needed her professional services. In an unprecedented and unexpected finale, Anna is able to free herself and her husband from Stalin's cruelty.
Marc Dugain, wrote and directed this interesting film which is based on his novel. We are taken inside the Russian leader's private world, something that was guarded with the utmost secrecy. The interiors chosen for the film are always in the dark, something that cinematographer Yves Angelo captures with his camera. The cruel man showed that even as he was dying he would not show any pity for even the ones that were able to ease the pain he was experiencing.
The coup for Mr. Dugain was in the casting. Andre Dussollier plays Joseph Stalin with conviction. The actor transformed himself to give a clear portrait of the powerful man who controlled everything during the years as head of the now defunct Soviet Union. Marina Hands also does a great contribution as Anna. The actress did an excellent job for Mr. Dugain. Edouard Baer plays Vassili and Denis Podalydes is seen as the concierge.
There is a funny reference in the film from one of Stalin's guards who confesses to Anna he has a new grandson. His name: Vladimir Putin!