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Ironiya Sudby. Prodolzhenie (2007)

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Details: 125 mins · Russian


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The key subplot is the drab uniformity of Brezhnev era public architecture. This is made explicit in a humorous animated prologue, in which architects are overruled by politicians and red tape. This results in the entire planet being polluted with identical, unimaginative multistory apartment buildings, called Khrushchyovki, of the sort that can, in fact, be found in every city, town, and suburb across the former Soviet Union. These buildings are uniform right down to the door key of each apartment. The rest of the film is live-action.

Following their annual tradition, a group of friends meet at a banya (a traditional public bath) in Moscow to celebrate New Year's Eve (?????????? ????, Novogodnyaya Noch). The friends all get very drunk toasting the upcoming marriage of the central male character, Zhenya Lukashin (Andrei Myagkov) to Galya (Olga Naumenko). After the bath, one of the friends, Pavlik (Aleksandr Shirvindt), has to catch a plane to Leningrad; Zhenya, on the other hand, is supposed to go home to celebrate New Year's Eve with his fiancée. Both Zhenya and Pavlik pass out. The others cannot remember which of their unconscious friends is supposed to be catching the plane; eventually they mistakenly decide that it is Zhenya and put him on a plane instead of Pavlik. On the plane, he collapses onto the shoulder of his annoyed seatmate, played by the director himself (Ryazanov) in a brief comedic cameo appearance. The seatmate helps Zhenya get off the plane in Leningrad. He wakes up in Leningrad airport, believing he is still in Moscow. He stumbles into a taxi and, still quite drunk, gives the driver his address. It turns out that in Leningrad there is a street with the same name (3rd Builders' street), with a building at his address which looks exactly like Zhenya's. The key fits in the door of the apartment with the same number (as alluded to in the introductory narration, "...building standard apartments with standard locks"). Inside, even the furniture is nearly identical to that of Zhenya's apartment. Zhenya is too drunk to notice the differences, and goes to sleep.

Later, the real tenant, Nadya Shevelyova (Barbara Brylska), arrives home to find a strange man sleeping in her bed. To make matters worse, Nadya’s fiancé, Ippolit (Yuri Yakovlev), arrives before Nadya can convince Zhenya to get up and leave. Ippolit becomes furious, refuses to believe Zhenya and Nadya's explanations, and storms out. Zhenya leaves to get back to Moscow but circumstances make him return repeatedly. Nadya wants to get rid of him as soon as possible, but there are no flights to Moscow until the next morning. Thus the two are compelled to spend New Year's Eve together. At first they continue to treat each other with animosity, but gradually their behavior softens and the two fall in love. Comedic moments punctuated by unexpected guests, the repeated returns of the jealous Ippolit, the buzzing of the doorbell, and the ringing of the phone are interwoven with the slowly developing love story; melancholic songs illustrate key moments. In the morning, they feel that everything that has happened to them was a delusion, and they make the difficult decision to part. With a heavy heart, Zhenya returns to Moscow. Meanwhile Nadya reconsiders everything and, deciding that she might have let her chance at happiness slip away, takes a plane to Moscow following Zhenya, easily finding him in Moscow, since their addresses are the same.