A 30-years-old psychoanalyst (!) from Leningrad presumably falls in love with a high-maintenance whore who is an ex-Russian and visiting the Soviet Union, and jumps the ship in a "Western country" that looks like shabby East Germany but everyone there addresses each other "sir" all the time for no apparent reason. He claims he doesn't "choose freedom" but wants "to have everything" because "they appreciate talent in the West," thus making himself one of the first figures of the so-called "sausage emigration." However, he sticks to "Freudian" psychoanalysis (banned in the Soviet Union at the time so it remain unclear how he "practiced" it in Kolpino), considered passé in western medical circles, yet he continues to call himself a "scientist," and ends up doing regular jobs. One of them is an exterminator in a city dump (don't ask) where one of the most hilarious scenes takes place: he is beaten by a bunch of dope-smoking hippies. The counter-cultural element is also presented on screen with lewd dances by a couple of heavyset girls in tights, on a house-of-culture herringbone parquet, and two "rock bands" who sing in mock English; one band looks like an Iron Butterfly caricature with an Elvis impersonator for a front man.
All "foreign" characters on screen behave and speak like common soviet citizens, although the street crowd, for some reason, looks like a stereotype of London City. At one point I even suspected John Cleese in The Ministry of Silly Walks there but the guy turned around. Although this sounds like a Thomas Pynchon plot, the general absurdity of the film layout is unsurpassed in its deadly seriousness. The poor moron ends up raping a suicide-prevention hot-line volunteer from New Zealand, canvassing for an émigré newspaper, and facing the necessity of enlisting in an espionage training school "for journalists." Now he would be only 72, and I sure would like to ask him if he still wants to go home.
The only truth of this flick is that he wants to "have," soviet-style, but is unable to "do" anything, apart from whining, demanding, and making a general fool of himself. The rest is all revolting lies targeted on idiots who can't have the luxury of comparing notes, and seeing for themselves that the commie screen version of the life in the West doesn't correspond to the real picture. It was meant to put fright into those who thought about leaving country at that time. The special poignancy to it gives the fact that in 1972, Joseph Brodsky was mercifully forced to leave the communist pigsty.
There should be a special kind of hell for soviet film-makers, in particular the ever-undead Sergey Mikhalkov, the author of the Soviet (and now Russian) state anthem lyrics who served as the writer in this film.
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