Wednesday, July 13, 2016


Writer Pierre Christin and artist Enki Bilal's classic tale of the last days of Soviet Russia is a quiet, subdued masterpiece.

The Hunting party is a graphic novel which attacks the taboos of communist crimes. Christin and Bilal take the subject head on: The purging, the systematic elimination of the opponents to communism, the hunting for the Trotskystes, the Kominform, the Spring of Prague crushed under Russian tanks, the massacre of the peasants' resistance to collectivization... Christin's slow but hypnotic plot is carried over the story's 82 pages by the powerful dialogues. It is with abandon that the author plunge us by flashbacks, in a maze of past repressions, crimes and terror. 
Enki Billal's art is atmospheric. His quiet drawings conveyed the desperateness of the last days of Soviet Russia. It's a style full of decrepitude and it goes well with this nauseating political history. With Bilal, no wall is without cracks, not a street without holes, nor is a face spared the ravages of time and bad decisions. Even the trees seem exhausted. His use of visual metaphor's and allegories to display the emotionally charged scenes, bring resonance to this story of power and control.  Bilal does not use colors to embellish, but to generate emotions. One can only describe The hunting party's visual atmosphere as, unhealthy. 
Reading this graphic novel does require some minimal knowledge of contemporary history, but the true Russian aficionado will be able to seize all the subtleties of the graphic novel, in particular the contents of the propaganda posters. 
The hunting party is not only one of the best political graphic novels in the history of the Ninth Art, but also reveals itself to be a work of conscience and recollections.  Even more, it was a formidable prediction of the explosion of the Eastern bloc.

Get this seminal work here:

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