Video Tours
Tour 1. Where Daddy Used to Live
Ilya brings his young children to the building where he lived for some thirty years, shows them the apartment that is still shared by several families, and introduces them to his former neighbors.
1. Stairwell [2:42] Ilya brings his young children to the building where he used to live and shows them the elevator, doorbells, and janitor's quarters.
2. Hallway & Kitchen [2:59] Ilya shows his young children the hallway and kitchen in the apartment where he grew up.
3. The Roof Garden [2:03] Ilya shows his young children the roof garden in the apartment where he grew up.
4. Where He Slept [1:42] Ilya brings his young children to his former room and talks about his large family, the partition, and watching TV through its reflection in the polished armoire.
5. At Auntie Asya's [2:08] Ilya's former neighbor "Auntie" Asya serves tea to his children and shows them her wood stove.
  Tour 2. Where I Used to Live
Ilya returns to the building where he lived for some thirty years and shows us the apartment that is still shared by several families.
1. Stairwell [3:48] Ilya walks up the stairs in the building where he used to live and talks about the elevator, graffiti, doorbells, and drug addicts.
2. Kitchen [3:55] In the apartment where he used to live, Ilya greets his former neighbors, and while he talks to them, we see the kitchen.
3. Who Pays and Cleans? [4:58] In the apartment where he used to live, Ilya explains the cleaning arrangements and payments for utilities and shows the service stairwell.
4. Repairs [3:12] In the kitchen of the apartment where Ilya used to live, Ilya and "Auntie" Asya talk about the difficulty of getting anything fixed.
5. Washroom [6:21] Ilya shows the washroom in his former apartment and talks about his former neighbors.
6. Lavatory & Hallway [3:08] In the apartment where he used to live, Ilya shows the two lavatories and the electric meter in the dark hallway.
7. The Empty Room [5:21] Ilya shows the so-called "empty room" in his former apartment and talks about his former neighbors.
8. Partition [3:21] In his former room, Ilya shows a tiny balcony and explains room partitioning.
  Tour 3. Apartment 30
Ilya visits friends in an apartment in the same building where he once lived. We see the kitchen, bathroom, hallway, storage room, and two rooms where tenants live; we observe Ilya's conversations with these people.
1. I Won't Do Anything Else [4:11] Ilya talks with some of his contemporaries who live in a communal apartment.
2. Cooking Saltimbocca [6:16] A communal kitchen in action: in the kitchen of a large communal apartment, Ilya makes an Italian dish for his friends who live there.
3. Anna Matveevna [4:48] Ilya talks with an old woman who lives in a communal apartment. We see the kitchen, the room she lives in, and the hallway, and hear about her life during the war.
4. Nina Vasilievna [7:37] The oldest tenant in the apartment shows her photo album and talks about her life.
5. A Room for Her Daughter [4:56] A conversation with a former janitor about her life and how she got her rooms.
6. A New Shower [4:52] A conversation about the bathroom: how clothes are washed and dried, how people wash.
  Tour 4. Smaller Apartments
The tenants of two midsize apartments show us their common areas and rooms and talk about them. We see kitchens, washrooms, hallways, and storage rooms.
1. No Hallway, No Bath Either [5:23] Ilya visits a comparatively small communal apartment and shows us its "empty" room with an asymmetrical ceiling. A student who rents a room here shows us the bathroom.
2. A Rented Room With Icons [5:46] Ilya shows us a mid-sized communal apartment and asks questions of a student who is renting the room of a very religious woman.
3. If All This Were Yours... [6:15] A husband and wife show their apartment and talk. We see the kitchen, hallways, bathroom, and also a room and office, carved out of what was once a large room with four windows.
  Tour 5. Our Neighbors
The tenants of three communal apartment talk about their neighbors. We see their rooms and shared spaces.
1. Kamila, Lena, and Yulya [6:30] Three tenants of a large communal apartment talk about their neighbors. We see their rooms, the kitchen, the smoking space, and the place to dry clothes.
2. Over A Cup of Tea [5:54] A woman living in a midsized apartment talks about old times and recent changes.
3. Who Lived Here Before the Revolution? [4:32] A resident of a small communal apartment tells about the apartment's distant and recent past. We see the kitchen, the "empty" room, the hallway and the entryway.
4. I Know Their Footsteps [5:42] A young tenant in a small communal apartment talks about the rules of communal life and about her neighbors.
5. There Shouldn't Be Any Communal Apartments [5:12] An old lady talks about how her neighbors did not understand her, and says that in her opinion there shouldn't be any communal apartments.
6. The Archangel Michael [3:15] An old woman, a comparatively recent resident of a communal apartment, explains how she is helped by her sense of humor and shows her "defenders."
7. How Many Tenants? [3:23] A story about how the number of tenants grew, how clean the apartment used to be, and how the bathroom was used.
8. We Laughed and Cried [5:15] A story about how very different people shared an apartment, sometimes getting along and sometimes not.
9. Jew Rugs [2:06] How one tenant amused herself with casual antisemitism.
10. Edik the Cabinetmaker [4:01] For the past twenty years, a cabinetmaker who works with fine woods has created museum quality furniture in his communal apartment room.
  Tour 6. Thefts and Losses
Residents of communal apartments talk about burglaries, thefts, and things that mysteriously disappear.
1. Robbers and Ghosts [4:13] A longtime resident of a midsized communal apartment tells about thefts and mysterious disappearances.
2. Who Paid for the Lock? [0:29] After a thief got into the apartment, money was collected for a new lock.
3. Twenty Keys [2:01] A young woman tells about how someone stole keys and got inside the apartment.
  Tour 7. Things That Happen
Scenes from communal life.
Quail Farm [3:33] A few minutes in a large communal kitchen, where unusual eggs are being scrambled.
Another "Empty" Room [0:41] Objects in the so-called "empty" (uninhabited) room, left by residents for "temporary" storage.
Grandma Does the Dishes [5:21] Grandma washes dishes and plastic bags.
Grandma Lights the Stove [0:54] If you don't have a match, you can light the stove by taking a sliver of wood and using the flame in the hot water heater.
  Tour 8. Stories and Thoughts
Various interviews and scenes from life in communal apartments.
The Oldest Tenant Remembers [1:56] An old woman answers a journalist's questions about original panelling and the history of the apartment.
Carpeting on the Staircase [0:55] A young woman retells a story she heard from an old-timer about how the staircase looked before the revolution.
We're Like One Big Family [5:27] A woman who has spent her whole life in communal apartments explains why she likes it.
Outer City Housing Complexes [3:31] Communal residents explain why they didn't want to live in new housing projects on the outskirts of the city.