|Communal Living in Russia: From Films|
|Comic scenes of communal apartment life in the late 1950s from the feature film “Our Neighbors,” reproduced here by permission of the Belarusfilm movie studio. Director Sergei Sploshnov, screenplay by Mikhail Antonenkov and Ephraim Sevela. 1957.|
|Translation of the Russian Transcript|
Voiceover: Let's pay a visit to this address and meet the tenants. Here are the Shpakovskys. They're husband and wife.
Wife: Someone's at the door!
Husband: Oh, really?
Wife: Go open it.
Husband: It's for Razmyslovich.
Voiceover: Razmyslovich is their neighbor. He's a young bachelor who's immersed in intellectual work. Three rings means it's for the Murashkos. See what a big happy family they are!
Papa Murashko: No, that's not for us, it's for Granny Sushkova.
Voiceover: Four rings means it's for Granny Sushkova... And when the bell rings five times it sends the entire apartment into a tizzy. There's no one living in the fifth room right now. But the old tenant left such fond memories behind that--you see?--they're afraid to even answer the door.
Housing director (from behind the door): Open up in there!
Papa Murashko: Why, comrades, it's the director of the housing office.
Shpakovskaya: What's he doing here?
New tenant: Good afternoon.
Housing director: You've got a new tenant. Comrade Terokhin. By order of the District Housing Office. He's moving into the space that's come available.
Granny Sushkova: Oh, please, not a bachelor.
Mama Murashko: That room stood empty for two weeks. I said, let's occupy it. Now it's too late.
New tenant: Well, comrades, why don't we begin by introducing ourselves?
Papa Murashko: Murashko's the name. I'm in construction. And here's the whole gang.
Mama Murashko: Dinner's getting cold, let's go.
Papa Murashko: She's the boss!
Shpakovskaya: I'm Ludmila Pavlovna Shpakovskaya.
New tenant: Sergei... Nikolaich.
Razmyslovich: Razmyslovich. Excuse me, are you single, or...
New tenant: I'm a bachelor.
Shpakovskaya: Thank goodness for that. There's hardly room to turn around in the kitchen.
Razmyslovich: Nice to meet you.
Granny Sushkova: We know all about you bachelors. We had someone else living here who also claimed he was a bachelor.
Housing director: Comrade Terekhin! Please come with me. Let's have a look at the apartment.
New tenant: I would be happy to.
Housing director: This way, please. Here's the kitchen... with a new refrigerator. Let's keep going.
[the new tenant has repaired the refrigerator]
New tenant: I think it's working now.
Shpakovskaya: How about that? Finally we have a real man in the place.
New tenant: My pleasure!
Granny Sushkova: Just where are you putting your food?
Mama Murashko: This is my space. Yours is underneath.
Granny Sushkova: Then I'll take the upper shelf.
Shpakovskaya: Hmmm. The upper shelf, the upper shelf... Pardon me, pardon me, pardon me, pardon me... The upper shelf was always mine. Hold this. There. There. Now go ahead and put your things in. Thank you very much, Sergei Nikolaich.
Mama Murashko: Let me give you a hand.
Teenaged neighbor: Well, you fixed that fridge so good, they left you holding the bag!
Voiceover: These things happen. But what's the point of getting upset about it? Life is beautiful, even without a refrigerator. ...
Young woman: Oh!
New tenant: Hello.
Young woman: What do you want?
New tenant: Nothing.
Young woman: Get out!
New tenant: I'm going. Excuse me. I'm going.