“Every year on the New Year’s Eve my friends & I go to a b’anya (the Russian sauna)” is what is heard from most of the TV-sets, computers & other devices on the 31st of December. It means the whole country is being prepared to the most magic night of the year accompanied by the movie which has become its symbol: “The Irony of Fate or Enjoy Your Bath!” Made in a far 1975, it has instantly taken its place near our Ded Moroz & Snegurochka…Who knows it might be some real New Year magic that integrated it into the last instances of the year. I hope for many decades ahead.
I cannot call “The Irony of Fate” a comedy no matter it is full of humour & grotesque moments. This is a romantic movie reflecting complications of our quotidienneté, personal relationships, true feelings & trust. In the beginning Zh’enya, the main male character, sings to his fiancèe who does not fit him at all: “That is what is happening. My good friend does not visit me anymore, but various fair weather ones come instead…” The movie is a perfect guide to the true Soviet life of Br’egnev’s period. It will be interesting for those of you, Esteemed Readers, who would like to see how we lived in the Soviet times. Indeed everything was similar all over the country. I remember this furniture, dishes etc. We are still keeping many of these objects. Maybe that is another reason why the movie seems to be so close, so familiar.
The plot so far: “Zh’enya Luk’ashin, a surgeon, is decorating the Christmas tree with his fiancée G’alya. He is 36, not married yet (people got married very young in the Soviet epoch, so the age of 36 was considered the dead age. The movie stresses the problem of making a family after 30.). It is obvious that G’alya does not love him but desires the marriage only. He proposes her with a certain reluctance. Then in accordance with the tradition he spends the New Year’s Eve in a b’anya with his devoted friends. One of them, P’avlik, must fly to Leningrad (Saint-Peterburg) to celebrate the New Year with his wife.
They get drunk & nobody cannot remember who must fly to Leningrad. So, Zh’enya, who fell asleep, is sent there instead of P’avlik. He is so bad that pays no attention to his unexpected air trip. At the airport he takes a taxi, tells his Moscow’s address & is delivered “at home” but…in Leningrad. So, he finds himself in the same house, the flat with the same furniture where lives a beautiful N’adya, a school teacher. No matter her beauty & intelligence she is already 34 & not married yet. Zhenya appears in her life in the moment when she must be proposed by a handsome, successful ¬ too young Ipol’it who is very jealous & behaves as a true amateur dictator. The irony of Fate is that Z’henya & N’adya comprehend that they are meant for each other & they have only this New Year’s night to make their decision: to leave things as they are or to change their life once & for all.”
To my joy the movie (2 episodes) is available on youtube with English, French, Spanish subtitles. I pass you the link.
Enjoy watching! Enjoy Your Bath!