Abram Room – Strogiy yunosha AKA A Severe Young Man AKA Le Jeune Sérieux (1935)

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A contemplation of the New Soviet Man runs head-first into a romantic comedy with music in this film from the Soviet Union, which was highly controversial upon initial release. Dr. Stepanov (Yuri Yurev) is a well-known and gifted surgeon whose talent is matched only by his arrogance; he constantly bosses around his assistant, Fydor (Maksim Straukh), and his wife, Masha (Olga Zhizneva). Masha is beautiful and a great deal more charming than her husband, and she soon attracts the attentions of Grisha Fokin (Dmitri Dorliak), a young man who is quite infatuated with her. As Grisha pursues Masha, the characters debate the role of free love and free will within the Soviet social and political economy, as well as the juncture of the body and the mind. Strogiy Yunosha ran into considerable oposition from government censors once it was completed, and was banned by Soviet authorities after only two months of release, which led to director Abram Room’s banishment from Ukrainfilm Studio. The film was later revived as part of the retrospective “Another History Of Soviet Films 1926-1968,” which was presented at the 53rd Locarno Film Festival in August, 2000. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide Continue reading

Abram Room – Tretya Meshchanskaya AKA Bed And Sofa (1927)

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A married couple have a small apartment in Moscow. When an old friend of the husband’s arrives in the city, he is unable to find lodgings. Kolia, the husband, invites his friend to move in with them. While Kolia is away on business, sensual Liuda and attractive Volodia fall in love and have an affair. After his initial outrage, the husband calms down. Kolia winds up on the sofa, and the three settle into a menage-a-trois until the wife finds herself pregnant. The two men are trying to decide what to do, but Liuda is strong enough to make her own decisions. Considered a landmark film because of humor, naturalism, and its sympathetic portrayal of the woman. Continue reading