A New Year’s Tradition In Russia.

Just as we have our holiday films:  “The Sound of Music”, and “It’s a Wonderful Life”, the Russians have their film, “Ирония судьбы” or “A Twist of Fate.”  In 1975 this film made for TV had its debut, and has become a New Year’s tradition in Russia ever since.  The plot is a simple one, and involves a surgeon ending up in someone else’s apartment instead of his own.  The address is exactly the same, but the city is different; he is no longer in Moscow, but in Leningrad.  He was due to spend the New Year with his fiance, Galya, but ends up spending it with an unknown lady.  Alcohol is the cause as it often is in Russian films.  This film, which features two of Russia’s greatest actors:  Андрей Мягков, and Юрий Яковлев, includes a Polish actress for its heroine, Barbara Brylska.  Though the film lasts three hours it is never boring, but weaves an intricate psychological drama between three people:  the surgeon, the unknown lady, and her fiance.  Some beautiful songs are included, especially the moving “Я спросил у ясени”, which is my favorite Russian song.  There is an excellent version dubbed in English that is easy to obtain.  The film is directed by Eldar Ryazanov.