The movie explores the love, or lack thereof, of a spouse and a parent, absurdities and tragedies of life, growing-up and death, and humanity under various social and political influences. Ivan's life, and his unhappy relationship with his wife and father, are told through interweaving flashbacks as his wife is attempting to give birth. The title refers to the cigarettes he was buying from her when he met her while down on his luck. They fall in love but constantly fight, while he resorts to crime. The movie's many artsy vignettes vary widely between provocative interviews and dialogue, symbolic scenes of Ivan as a child stomping a gift of bread into the ground, surreal images of death, absurdities of silly bureaucracies and indifference in hospitals, scenes of political upheaval mixed with innocent images of a children's book, and so on. This is a hodgepodge of subtly impressionistic scenes that come together to weave a character study and portrait of life. At times it was a ...