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The members of a Soviet cooperative have pooled their money to have a badly needed parking garage built. But it turns out that the garage will have four fewer spaces than planned. In brutal Soviet style, the four least-well connected members are evicted from the cooperative in a mock vote, losing their entire investment. But one member, Malayeva, does the unthinkable. As if taking on the entire corrupt Soviet system, she quixotically locks down the meeting room and throws away the key. Chaos reigns through the night until the privileged are forced to negotiate for the first time in their lives. A madcap, rollicking, biting satire that Brezhnev banned. Written by
Boris Shafir <email@example.com>, edited by Dean Meservy
When this nonsense is over, how about we go to my place for breakfast?
I've never been invited to breakfast before. Usually, men suggest dinner.
I am an innovator.
I realize I look like the kind of woman who can be seduced over dinner, lunch, or even breakfast.
Next you are going to say you are not like that.
No, I won't say that. But I won't have breakfast with you, either. My breakfasting days are over.
It's a little early for that, no?
My recent husband has forever made me lose my appetite.
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The Garage is an enthralling and pleasant film about collective bargaining. This is so, because the story is serious but with a light undertone. And also, because in the end the underdogs win, and even the former hawks in the group seem to find the final result reasonable. The stage is set in a Russian institute of natural sciences. The personnel club has organized the collective building of a parcel of garages, and employees could participate in the project by subscription on a list. Unfortunately the number of built garages must be decreased, and the collective meets in order to decide who will have to give up their claim. The executive has already written a proposal, which conveniently plans the exclusion of the outsiders and mavericks. The decision is made by a democratic vote, and of course the executive gets his will. But then, unexpectedly, the outsiders protest and revolt. They point out, that family members were added to the list, and also a rich entrepreneur (although the film stems from Soviet times). And that the executive has favored itself. A new voting round is demanded and executed, with this time a different result. Now the newly injured persons protest, and a state of anarchy unfolds. There is whining and shouting, and proposals of adjournment (the executive senses a forthcoming defeat). Somebody locks the door, and demands that the meeting will continue until a decisive vote is made. A comic note is the presence of stuffed animals in the room, which seem to mimic the combatants. Relations are broken and forged. One of the injured outsiders appears to have an up to now unknown past as a war hero against the fascists. Old Soviet habits revive, the defeat of the fascists is paramount for the national self-esteem, and all present agree that the claim of this man must definitely be honored. Other revelations follow. A mute person suddenly regains his speech. And indeed, in the end an unanimous decision is made, that everybody can accept (except for the entrepreneur). I like the film, also because it illustrates how demand can be met without resorting to selection by means of pricing - which is in fact quite unfair.
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