The film that shocked the Soviets with its depiction of your average Russian family as a squalid, sottish, violent bunch of amoral no-hopers. Filtered through Western eyes, the sex scenes seem mild, the foul language blunted by subtitles, and the rebellious stance tame. But the film's message is still subtly affecting. The circumscribed sadness of life in a dull industrial town; the inability of the generations to understand each other; the hard eyed look at love as an explosive and divisive, not redemptive force; these themes are mercilessly delineated. There's also a welcome anarchic humour at work: when stolid Sergei bemoans Vera's lack of purpose, she writhes on top of him purring: 'You and I share the same goal. Communism'. You can feel the shock waves from here. The film's chief revelation is Negoda's searing performance as Vera, a feisty, mean-minded hellcat who injects chaos into every life that touches hers. The booze fuelled tale is wildly melodramatic, but the performances, pitilessly shot in gritty, realistic settings, are excellent.
Cast and crew