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Tretya meshchanskaya (1927)

A married couple have a small apartment in Moscow. When an old friend of the husband's arrives in the city, he is unable to find lodgings. Kolia, the husband, invites his friend to move in with them.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Nikolai Batalov ...
Kolia - the husband
Lyudmila Semyonova ...
Liuda - the wife
Leonid Yurenev ...
The Porter
Vladimir Fogel ...
Volodia - the friend
Yelena Sokolova ...
The Nurse
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Mariya Yarotskaya
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Storyline

A married couple have a small apartment in Moscow. When an old friend of the husband's arrives in the city, he is unable to find lodgings. Kolia, the husband, invites his friend to move in with them. While Kolia is away on business, sensual Liuda and attractive Volodia fall in love and have an affair. After his initial outrage, the husband calms down. Kolia winds up on the sofa, and the three settle into a menage-a-trois until the wife finds herself pregnant. The two men are trying to decide what to do, but Liuda is strong enough to make her own decisions. Considered a landmark film because of humor, naturalism, and its sympathetic portrayal of the woman. Written by Fiona Kelleghan <fkelleghan@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

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Details

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Release Date:

1927 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Bed and Sofa  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In 1996, Off-Broadway, the Vinyard Theatre presented "Bed and Sofa: A Silent Movie Opera," with Libretto by Laurence Klavan, Music by Polly Pen and Direction by Andre Ernotte. The opera reproduces the plot of the original movie, as an opera. Some of the story plays out silently, giving the feeling that the audience is watching a silent movie. A narrator injects humorous transitions between some scenes, acting as a vocal title card. This opera was performed in Fort Lauderdale's Broward Center of the Performing Arts in September, 2015. See more »

Connections

Featured in Women Filmmakers in Russia (1988) See more »

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User Reviews

 
an exhilarating erotic comedy still astonishes a modern viewer
8 February 2016 | by (Finland) – See all my reviews

recently i have watched many silent films from the 1920s and early 1930s. it has been somewhat an embarrassing but at the same time also a thrilling discovery or perhaps almost a revelation to realize how there are dozens of hidden gems. it is a sad fact that few people are interested and bother enough to watch silent films these days on their full HD or 4K TVs - the silent classics are of course oddities for the vast majority of the dull and therefore quite rare presentations on the commercial television channels or in film festivals anyway.

but you should keep them in mind when searching for new experiences if you want to be taken seriously as a film buff. take this abram room's "bed and sofa" (Третья мещанская) from 1927 for instance. what an amazing discovery for anyone who thinks a silent film is an American slapstick comedy or in this case if it is particularly a soviet silent film it ought be some eisenstein pudovkin or dovzhenko or other political propagandist vehicle. well, this is not: it is an erotic marriage comedy and a sort of a comedy that succeeds - still - to astonish the audience after 90 years of its first appearance.

there are many appropriate though inexhaustible plot keywords to describe the story: open marriage/ polyamory/ sexual liberation/ swinging twenties in the NEP soviet Russia/ womens liberation/ latent homosexuality etc. from these keywords alone you may figure out that in 1927 it was somehow both a reflection of its freewheeling times and sexual morals and also in the broader historical and sociological perspective lightyears ahead of its time. Bolshevist attitude and soviet state policy towards sex and marriage was quite liberal or avantgardist throughout the twenties partly because of the collapse of traditional society (though only in the cities!) and partly because marriage was seen as an irrelevant and old-fashioned remnant of bourgeois social order (as religion) but the mood was already gradually changing by the late twenties; if this film would have been made ten years later the director could have ended up in serious trouble.

i may well imagine that NKVD would probably have visited room at 4 o'clock in the morning (the usual visiting hour of Stalin's own wolves) and the immediate shot in the neck or at least a long-term visit to the gulag with outdoor forced labor in vorkuta would have resulted after a short interrogation and mock trial. but back in 1927 Stalin was not yet in the absolute power and the governmental supervision of films in the country was not that strict. however, as a reflection of the changing times, room's film already underwent alongside with many other films of the era severe criticism about the lack of its political awareness.

by the way the accidental and innocent kiss between the male leading characters in this love triangle still remains of the rare "homoerotic" kisses in all soviet/Russian cinema. i am not sure if it is even the only one!? at least in putin's Russia that kind of audacity would be totally impossible. as you know homosexuality was virtually "nonexistent" in the soviet union so there was no reason to portray it in the films, either.


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