Shrews in the Office
31 October 2015
Eldar Ryaznov's Office Romance (1977) tells the story of workers in a statistical bureau in the era of stagnation. Director Liudmilla Prokofievna Kalugina is a strict woman who is seen as the office hag by the rest of the workers. When Yuri Grigoriovich Samokhvalov is named assistant director, he tries to appoint worker and old friend Anatoly Yefremovich Novoseltsev to a higher position in order to help him provide more for his two young sons. However, Liudmilla doesn't approve of this promotion . . . therefore; Yuri suggests that Tolya lightly flirt with Liudmilla in order to win her favor for the promotion. The two, however, soon begin to have actual feelings for each other which begins to lead the story in entirely new directions. The film shows a true view of how many things were in the era of stagnation: for example, transportation. Both Olga Ryzhova and Tolya take public transportation everyday—the tram and the trolleybus. The scenes from the film show how crowded the cars of these forms of transportation become. Not shown in the movie, however, are the usually long lines in order to get onto these cars Another thing that could be noted in this film is the way the office women and eventually even Liudmilla dress. Although it is still the communist Soviet state, in the Brezhnev era there is a sort of frivolity in things such as this. One of the main reasons is because foreign clothing and other foreign goods are increasingly becoming easier and easier to obtain through the Soviet black market. This classic Taming of the Shrew like tale has the perfect blend of humor and truth—it's easy to see why it is still a favorite in many of the former Soviet countries.
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