January 01, 1996

The Irony of Fate

It's a story that could only happen in Russia.  After a rip-roaring New Year's

Eve party with his buddies in a Moscow bathhouse, a man wakes up in his own bed, his own apartment, surrounded by his own furniture, next to his very own New Year's tree.  Or so it seems. According to the beautiful blonde who has just poured cold water over his head, the man is indeed in Apartment 12, Building 25, Third Builders' Street – but in Leningrad!

So begins the New Year's adventure of Zhenya, hero of the Soviet film Ironiya Sudby  (The Irony of Fate).  Produced during the Brezhnev years, the film pokes gentle fun at Soviet realities: rows of anonymous apartment buildings linked by interchangeable keys, chock full of people living interchangeable lives.  But the film is also an improbable, magical romance of the sort that could only happen on the most important holiday of the Soviet year:  New Year's Day.

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