The 1975 film by Georgi Daneliya "Afonya" was an unexpected commercial hit in USSR. The main character Borshev A.N. is a Plumber who spends his free time, as well as working hours, drinking with his buddies whom he even doesn't recognize the next day after another heavy drink. His girlfriend leaves him, his boss places him on probation, his whole life is falling a part but he doesn't realize it. There is only one person who can save him - a nurse by the name Katya whom he met at a disco and didn't pay much attention to... Daneliya manages to balance in the film satire and drama, quotes from the film gained a cult status in Russia and other former countries of USSR.Written by
For the disco club scene two real Russian bands were invited to play, "Arax" and "Mashina Vremeny" both extremely popular back then. Information leaked to the public and set was overcrowded by both bands' fans to listen for their music and eventually provide mass dancing background free of charge for the film makers, completely unexpected. See more »
BRILLIANT ACTING, FUNNY SITUATIONS, TOUCHING LOVE STORY AND GOOD PORTRAYAL OF SOVIET LIFE IN 70'S
One of the best movies made by great Russian-Soviet-Georgian director Georgy Danelia. Of all his brilliant works "Aphonya" probably is the most loved by Soviet people, and most cited too. This film is a tragicomic journey into the world of a middle-aged plumber Afanasiy Borshchov (Afonya), starting exactly when the next black stripe in his life begins - he's left by his woman, there are trouble with work, and, yes, there's some alcohol dependence. On the first look, Borschov is an exceedingly jovial man, sometimes rather cynical and sarcastic though. But as the movie proceeds and we get deeper into the inner world of the hero, Danelia and Kuravlyov (the actor) reveal unexpected dramatical depth of the character, turning out to be portraying the entire social phenomena of the village people moving to the big city and getting oppressed by the urban way of life. The first half of the film is quite entertaining, most of the gags and comic situations are concentrated here. Then the melodramatic and rather sad second part comes, showing relations between Borshchov and the young nurse Katya, and how are these relations growing from the light flirting in the disco into the deep and desperate love (brilliant acting by Evgenia Simonova). The general idea of the film as I see it is hero's return to the roots, into the village, which blows away Afonya's emotional numbness and fake joviality, unfolding the beautiful and loving soul, truly Russian in its frankness and kindness. Amazing works by wonderful actors E.Leonov and B.Brondukov starring as Afonya's boon-companions, and a lot of other great actor works like Vladimir Basov (Dni Turbinyh), Nikolay Grinko (Stalker, Solaris), Savely Kramarov (Gentlmeny Udachi) and so on. There's no visual refinement of Danelia's later works (especially his stunning surrealistic sci-fi "Kin-Dza-Dza") in this film, and the camera work is quite traditional. But the editing is very expressive and sometimes drastically changes the mood of the film. Also it is necessary to add that this movie is one of the best portrayals of Soviet urban life of 70's, so it possesses definite historical value. I would give this film 8 out of 10, and among Danelia's works I would placed it on the second if not on the first place. Should this film be adequately translated, the Western viewers could also enjoy it very much.
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