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A group of old friends have a tradition of going to a public bathing house on New Years eve. Occasionally too much vodka and beer makes two of them unconscious. The problem is that one of them (Sasha) has to go to Leningrad but another one (Zhenya) goes. Zhenya wakes up at Leningrad airport. Believing that he is still in Moscow he takes a taxi and goes home. The street name, building and even apartment number, the way an apartment complex looks the same and the key coincide completely - just typical Soviet-type 'economy' architecture. Imagine the surprise of Nadya when she enters her apartment and finds a man without trousers in her bed. What's more - Nadya's fiancé also finds him there... Written by
Konstantin Dlutskii <email@example.com> and sergiek
Let me sort out what in this film is Soviet, what is Russian, and what is universal.
Soviet is the background, including the cartoon which precedes the appearance of humans: a man with a tube kills any architect originality, even so innocent as balconies. As a consequence, the same buildings are put up in Artica as well in a southern desert before surprised camels. The Soviet reality is the basis of the plot with identical buildings in different cities. Also the New Year tree rather that the Christmas tree is Soviet. However, as the story unfolds, the Soviet reality recedes into little visible background. An exception is a line in one of the songs: if you do not have a dog, your neighbor cannot poison your dog.
Russian are the beautiful poems which are made into songs. There are also some views of Leningrad, but actually only a few, with the St. Isaac Basilica shown several times from different sides.
The cast and the technical crew are largely Russian, but not only. Obviously Armenian, Georgian and Jewish names are listed. The actress playing Nadya has been imported from Central Europe; Barbara Brylska is a Polish actress, well known also from a number of other movies made in Poland as well as in other countries.
The appeal of the film is truly universal ! This is the reason why viewers from countries so disparate as Latvia, Ukraine and China like this film so much (not to mention Texans). The love-jealousy quadrangle, two mothers, friends of Zhenya and colleagues of Nadya could have lived in many countries around the world. Even the story of the same address could have happened for instance in Germany where practically every city and town has Bahnhofstrasse and Poststrasse.
Finally, the atmosphere of this film is unique - a word which very rarely can be used discussing films. We have seen other films directed by Eldar Ryazanov, all of them good, but none comparable to this one. All that takes place in the film is plausible, it could have happened in reality. At the same time, there is the feeling of poetic, unreal and sublime. These two basically opposed reactions to the film coexist somehow in the viewer; this simply does not happen in movies, films directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski excepted. Irony of the Fate is a truly wonderful film, alive 30 years after being created; it will enchant future generations as well.
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