Nevertheless, even this story has social problems. The main character Vera (Lyudmila Gurchenko) is a common Soviet woman who is a waitress in a station cafe in a provincial town . Her life is a cycle of arriving passengers snacking in this cafe. She is forced to run all day from one table to another and to sell melons, brought by her lover, conductor Andrey (Nikita Mikhalkov), at the local market in her spare time in order to increase her small waiter's salary. Like many Soviet and modern Russian people, Vera has a very simple and monotonous life. Until the pianist Platon appears in it.
Another film based on a love story is Forgotten Tune for the Flute (Забытая мелодия для флейты, 1987).
But it leaves a sadder aftertaste than the previous one. Again we see a common Soviet woman whose life is poor. Lida (Tatyana Dogileva) lives in a communal apartment, works as a nurse and receives a meager salary. Suddenly an official Leonid Filimonov (Leonid Filatov) appears in her life as a Prince from the fairy tale. He falls in love with Lida and asks her to be with him. Everything would be fine if he weren't married. Lida is afraid of relations with a man bound by marriage because she knows that it won't end well. At best, she would remain just his mistress. However, feelings take over them and the characters start dating.
At first, everything really resembles a fairy tale. But this vanilla romance ends when Leonid's wife Elena (Irina Kupchenko) returns from a business trip. Filimonov's cowardly soul manifests itself. Throughout the whole film, he rushes between the mistress, whom he seems to love, and the wife, who is a symbol of his comfortable settled life. Having understood Filimonov's character, you can predict the end of the movie in advance. Leonid won't be able to exchange his beautiful delicious life for vegetating in a communal apartment. But we hope until the last minute that he will stop being a craven careerist and will finally follow his heart (although it is worth noting that cheating on his wife is a rather dubious and immoral act). Alas, life is much more prosaic. Hardly Leonid will find the strength to put love above his career. After all, once he has already betrayed the dream of playing the flute.
Of course, social satire is also presented in the film. First of all, the bureaucracy of the Soviet nomenclature is ridiculed here. Leonid works in the fictional Main Directorate of free time. It is trying to regulate freedom of action, which Soviet people have gained in the era of glasnost. In fact, this is one more useless institution similar to many Soviet and modern Russian departments doing bullshit. The funny song of bureaucrats that sounds in the film reflects the essence of these numerous idle officials who only lie, forbid everything, sort out papers and suck up to their superiors.
Surely, we can't belittle the significance of the "perestroika" which really gave people a breath of freedom. Even this film managed to be made with all the sharp moments that had appeared due to Gorbachev's coming to power. But the conventions that had existed in Soviet society for several decades didn't disappear in a moment. Officials continue to be reinsured and guided by outdated views and censorship. So, employees of the Directorate of free time are afraid to deviate from the usual ideology. The key meaning of the film is expressed in a phrase said by one of the employees to Leonid after he moved to live with his mistress, "Why are you doing it so openly? We can do everything, but only in whispers."
In fact, these officials shackle themselves with chains of conventions. Perhaps Lida is the only one who is free. She has no wealth, no high social status and no prestigious job. She has nothing to risk in life. So, she is the only one in the film who is free to do what she wants. This is reflected in Lida's behavior when she breaks into the Directorate's building to save Leonid who is dying of a heart attack. Only Lida is a hero in the way that we are used to interpret this word. She is a bright representative of the people, who, despite all the difficulties, lots of which are created by the officials, don't cease to be a human, are full of feelings and emotions and know how to love.
The concentration of drama occurs in another film by Ryazanov - Dear Yelena Sergeyevna (Дорогая Елена Сергеевна, 1988).
It can even be called a crime drama. As in The Garage, almost the entire movie follows the principle of the place's unity. The action unfolds in the apartment of the teacher Yelena Sergeyevna (Marina Neyolova), and this only makes the situation heat up more.
High school students who have just passed their final exams come to visit their teacher to wish her happy birthday. The delighted woman, who even forgot about the holiday because of her loneliness, is infinitely glad to see her students. But soon she realizes that actually the guys have selfish purposes when visiting her. They demand to give them the key to the safe where their mathematics exam papers are stored in order to change them to the correct versions. They don't let Yelena Sergeyevna out of her apartment until morning, mocking over the teacher more and more awfully.
Each of them has their own problems. Pasha (Dmitry Maryanov
) wants to enter the humanitarian institute and isn't going to lose his place because of the only B in mathematics. Vitya (Fedor Dunaevsky) wants to get at least a C in order to enter the college. Lala (Natalia Shchukina) supports her friends morally. The most evil and inhuman character is Volodya (Andrew Tikhomirnov). A son of a rich man, he seems to complain about nothing and be happy with everything. His place at MGIMO is guaranteed despite any exam results, and it's not clear what he is doing here at all. But his participation in the action is significant. It is this cynical major who proves that money and permissiveness turn a person into a monster. Using his leadership in the company, Volodya manages the entire process, coming up with more and more sophisticated ways to mock the teacher and achieve what they came for. This has become a game for him in which he isn't going to give up and wants to take away this ill-fated key at all costs, just to demonstrate his power.
There's too much hate and violence in this movie. Locked in a closed space and intoxicated by the possibility of success, teenagers behave more and more like animals and bring Yelena Sergeyevna to nervous exhaustion. Of course, their behavior is disgusting and causes only abhorrence, while you really empathize and pity Yelena Sergeyevna.
Strangely, there are no right or guilty characters in the film. Teenagers have become such beasts because they are tired of living in a country where everything is ruled by connections and corruption, where people make ends meet and can't even buy good clothes. They are trying to prove to Yelena Sergeyevna that her impoverished life isn't normal. They want to live in a different way, in a free and fair country. They no longer need the communist fairy tales that Yelena Sergeyevna has been believing in for her entire life. And they've got a point. By that time, the Soviet ideology had really outlived its usefulness and the country needed to change. But still Yelena Sergeyevna has a huge advantage over the guys. No matter what, she remains a human. Kindness, honor and dignity are core values for her. But, unfortunately, the new society practically doesn't need such highly moral people.