5 user 2 critic
A self-pitying but popular playwright drives to Vladimir to relax with a doting female student and another writer. He's convinced his writing is of no lasting value, but he still has an ego... See full summary »


Gleb Panfilov
5 wins. See more awards »


Learn more

More Like This 

Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A talented girl is trying to find happiness amidst the Russian revolution of 1917 and the civil war that split the nation.

Director: Gleb Panfilov
Stars: Inna Churikova, Anatoliy Solonitsyn, Mikhail Gluzskiy
The Beginning (1970)
Certificate: GP Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A film-in-film story set in a provincial town in Russia. Pasha (Churikova) is an amateur actress who plays a witch at a local club, but her dream is to play Joan of Arc. In a strike of luck... See full summary »

Director: Gleb Panfilov
Stars: Inna Churikova, Valentina Telichkina, Tatyana Stepanova
Mother (1990)
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Based on Maxim Gorky's novel about a woman torn between her loyalties to husband and son in the years of the Revolution.

Director: Gleb Panfilov
Stars: Inna Churikova, Viktor Rakov, Liubomiras Laucevicius
Vassa (1983)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Ruthless millionaire Vassa Zheleznova is the head of a wealthy entrepreneurial family. She can do anything to protect its reputation, even push her husband to suicide.

Director: Gleb Panfilov
Stars: Inna Churikova, Vadim Mikhaylov, Nikolai Skorobogatov
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Country girl Nadia moves to the city and becomes a maid in Valya's apartment. Valya, who is a member of the local District Committee, does not know that Nadia fell in love with her ... See full summary »

Director: Kira Muratova
Stars: Nina Ruslanova, Vladimir Vysotskiy, Kira Muratova
City Girl (1930)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A Chicago waitress falls in love with a Minnesota farmer, and decides to face a life in the country.

Director: F.W. Murnau
Stars: Charles Farrell, Mary Duncan, David Torrence
Five Evenings (1979)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Tamara and Sasha were separated during the war. Now (1957) Sasha is visiting Moscow for five days and by chance recognizes the house where Tamara used to live. She is still living there with her nephew Slava.

Director: Nikita Mikhalkov
Stars: Lyudmila Gurchenko, Stanislav Lyubshin, Valentina Telichkina
Courier (1986)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The story of a teenager boy in times of the comunism fall in the Soviet Union.

Director: Karen Shakhnazarov
Stars: Fyodor Dunayevsky, Anastasiya Nemolyaeva, Oleg Basilashvili
The River (1951)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Three adolescent girls growing up in Bengal, India, learn their lessons in life after falling for an older American soldier.

Director: Jean Renoir
Stars: Patricia Walters, Nora Swinburne, Esmond Knight
Proshu slova (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

When Yelizaveta Uvarova becomes a mayor of a small town, she puts her heart and soul into building a bridge there. Yet soon politics will have to make way for her family life as her son suddenly dies.

Director: Gleb Panfilov
Stars: Inna Churikova, Nikolay Gubenko, Ekaterina Volkova
Wrong Move (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A writer goes on a road trip across West Germany with a group of eclectic people he meets along the way.

Director: Wim Wenders
Stars: Rüdiger Vogler, Hanna Schygulla, Hans Christian Blech
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A single mother is confused by the changes in her teenage son, who has become distant since spending summer vacation with his father.

Director: Kira Muratova
Stars: Zinaida Sharko, Oleg Vladimirsky, Tatyana Mychko


Credited cast:
Mikhail Ulyanov ... Kim Yesenin, writer
Inna Churikova ... Sasha Nikolaeva, museum guide
Stanislav Lyubshin ... Gravedigger, dissident, Sasha's friend
Evgeniy Vesnik ... Igor Paschin, writer
Yevgeniya Nechayeva Yevgeniya Nechayeva ... Maria Alexandrovna
Natalya Seleznyova ... Svetlana, Yesenin's disciple
Sergey Nikonenko ... Sinitsyn, policeman
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
V. Asessorova V. Asessorova
Vadim Fedulov Vadim Fedulov ... (as V. Fedulov)
Galina Ilyina ... (as G. Ilyina)
K. Lazarev K. Lazarev
N. Matveyeva N. Matveyeva
Z. Petrova Z. Petrova
P. Roshchina P. Roshchina
S. Titov S. Titov


A self-pitying but popular playwright drives to Vladimir to relax with a doting female student and another writer. He's convinced his writing is of no lasting value, but he still has an ego, about his work and his masculine appeal. He's drawn to a museum guide he sees on his first afternoon, and when she appears at dinner, he tries charm. She reads widely, knows his work, loved it once and now finds it trivial; and she says so. He's stung. The next day, they walk through a cemetery where she talks of a dead peasant's poems and he grabs an idea of hers as the theme for a new play. She remains indifferent; he's baffled. So that night he spies on her. All is revealed. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A Stinging Comedy from Russia


Comedy | Drama | Romance


See all certifications »



Soviet Union



Release Date:

October 1986 (Soviet Union) See more »

Also Known As:

Das Thema See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Mosfilm See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



See full technical specs »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

The Forbidden Theme
28 February 2007 | by Galina_movie_fanSee all my reviews

"The Theme" is a film that had to stay on the shelf for almost ten years because of its "theme". Mikhail Ulyanov plays Kim Yesenin, a disillusioned and cynical playwright who uses the system by writing the conformist plays and enjoys the benefits of being the officially recognized and appointed "great Soviet writer" but who in reality has been used by a system and spent all the talent he ever had in writing the plays that had no artistic value whatsoever. Bitter irony lies in the name of the character: Sergei Yesenin was a real life enormously talented, widely popular and beloved Russian poet who committed suicide at the age of 30 in 1925 because he could not fit in the Soviet Russia. Kim Yesenin in the movie suffers the writing block and arrives to the small provincial town with a friend and a young mistress in search of inspiration. He meets an attractive, intelligent and well educated museum guide named Sasha (Inna Churikova never looked so beautiful and sophisticated and I finally understood why Panfilov always had been fascinated by her face, never conventionally pretty) who used to be a big fan of his earlier works but has a lot of unflattering things to say about his officially praised outings. Sasha is in love with a talented historian who had made a very difficult and life changing decision to emigrate from the Soviet Union. He had lost his job by becoming a dissident and had to work as a gravedigger to support himself while waiting for permission to leave the country. Those who never had to emigrate from their country knowing that they might leave forever and never be allowed to go back to see their loved ones and the places dear to their heart again would not fully understand why Panfilov's film had to stay on the shelf for almost ten year after it was completed. It was released only during the "perestroika" in 1987 and I saw it then. I respect Panfilov for his siding with the real artists rejected by the system but his film is not only a courageous statement against the conformity suffocating cultural life under the Brezhnev regime which would be later called "period zastoya" or "stagnation", it is a memorable work of cinema with very good performances from his muse, Inna Churikova, Mikhail Ulyanov, and supporting cast.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 5 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed