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Irony of Fate - LA IRONÍA DEL DESTINO (Ирония судьбы, или С лёгким паром!) Enjoy your Banya

La ironía del destino, (En ruso:.! Ирония судьбы, или С лёгким паром; trans Ironiya sudby, ili S lyogkim parom) es una película de la televisión soviética comedia romántica 1976 dirigida por Eldar Riazanov. El guión fue escrito por Emil Braginsky y Riazanov, basada libremente en 1971 obra del director Una vez en la víspera de Año Nuevo (en ruso: Однажды в новогоднюю ночь). La película fue filmada en 1975 en el Mosfilm Studios. Al mismo tiempo una comedia teñida historia de amor con la tristeza, es una de las producciones de la televisión soviéticas más exitosas de la historia y sigue siendo muy popular en la Rusia moderna.

The Irony of Fate, or Enjoy your Banya! (Russian: Ирония судьбы, или С лёгким паром!; trans. Ironiya sudby, ili S lyogkim parom!) is a 1976 Soviet romantic comedy television film directed by Eldar Ryazanov. The screenplay was written by Emil Braginsky and Ryazanov, loosely based on the director's 1971 play Once on New Year's Eve (Russian: Однажды в новогоднюю ночь). The film was filmed in 1975 at the Mosfilm Studios. Simultaneously a screwball comedy and a love story tinged with sadness, it is one of the most successful Soviet television productions ever and remains highly popular in modern Russia.



Plot
The key subplot is the drab uniformity of Brezhnev era public architecture. This is made explicit in a humorous animated prologue, in which architects are overruled by politicians and red tape. This results in the entire planet being polluted with identical, unimaginative multistory apartment buildings, called Khrushchyovki, of the sort that can, in fact, be found in every city, town, and suburb across the former Soviet Union. These buildings are uniform right down to the door key of each apartment. The rest of the film is live-action.
Following their annual tradition, a group of friends meet at a banya (a traditional public bath) in Moscow to celebrate New Year's Eve (Новогодняя ночь, Novogodnyaya Noch). The friends all get very drunk toasting the upcoming marriage of the central male character, Zhenya Lukashin (Andrei Myagkov) to Galya (Olga Naumenko). After the bath, one of the friends, Pavlik (Aleksandr Shirvindt), has to catch a plane to Leningrad; Zhenya, on the other hand, is supposed to go home to celebrate New Year's Eve with his fiancée. Both Zhenya and Pavlik pass out. The others cannot remember which of their unconscious friends is supposed to be catching the plane; eventually they mistakenly decide that it is Zhenya and put him on a plane instead of Pavlik. On the plane, he collapses onto the shoulder of his annoyed seatmate, played by the director himself (Ryazanov) in a brief comedic cameo appearance. The seatmate helps Zhenya get off the plane in Leningrad. He wakes up in Leningrad airport, believing he is still in Moscow. He stumbles into a taxi and, still quite drunk, gives the driver his address. It turns out that in Leningrad there is a street with the same name (3rd Builders' street), with a building at his address which looks exactly like Zhenya's. The key fits in the door of the apartment with the same number (as alluded to in the introductory narration, "...building standard apartments with standard locks"). Inside, even the furniture is nearly identical to that of Zhenya's apartment. Zhenya is too drunk to notice the differences, and goes to sleep.
Later, the real tenant, Nadya Shevelyova (Barbara Brylska), arrives home to find a strange man sleeping in her bed. To make matters worse, Nadya’s fiancé, Ippolit (Yuri Yakovlev), arrives before Nadya can convince Zhenya to get up and leave. Ippolit becomes furious, refuses to believe Zhenya and Nadya's explanations, and storms out. Zhenya leaves to get back to Moscow but circumstances make him return repeatedly. Nadya wants to get rid of him as soon as possible, but there are no flights to Moscow until the next morning. Thus the two are compelled to spend New Year's Eve together. At first they continue to treat each other with animosity, but gradually their behavior softens and the two fall in love. Comedic moments punctuated by unexpected guests, the repeated returns of the jealous Ippolit, the buzzing of the doorbell, and the ringing of the phone are interwoven with the slowly developing love story; melancholic songs illustrate key moments. In the morning, they feel that everything that has happened to them was a delusion, and they make the difficult decision to part. With a heavy heart, Zhenya returns to Moscow. Meanwhile Nadya reconsiders everything and, deciding that she might have let her chance at happiness slip away, takes a plane to Moscow following Zhenya, easily finding him in Moscow, since their addresses are the same.

Cast
 Andrey Myagkov as Zhenya
 Sergey Nikitin as Zhenya (singing voice)
 Barbara Brylska as Nadya
 Valentina Talyzina as Nadya (voice)/ Valya
 Alla Pugacheva as Nadya (singing voice)
 Yuri Yakovlev as Ippolit
 Aleksandr Shirvindt as Pavlik
 Georgi Burkov as Misha
 Liya Akhedzhakova as Tanya
 Aleksandr Belyavskiy as Sasha
 Lyubov Dobrzhanskaya as Zhenya's mother
 Olga Naumenko as Galya
 Gottlieb Roninson as man at the airport
 Eldar Ryazanov as Zhenya's fellow passenger in the plane
 Lyubov Sokolova as Nadya's mother

Reception

The two consecutive episodes of The Irony of Fate were originally broadcast by the Soviet central television channel, Programme One,on 1 January 1976, at 18:00. The film was a resounding success with audiences: author Fedor Razzakov recalled that "virtually the entire country watched the show";the number of viewers was estimated to have been about 100 million.[5] In response to popular demand, the feature had a first re-run on 7 February. By 1978, after several further broadcasts of the picture, the accumulated number of viewers for all of the showings including the first was estimated at some 250 million. A shortened 155 minutes version was released to cinemas on 16 August 1976; it sold some 7 million tickets.The readers of Sovetskii Ekran, the official publication of the State Committee for Cinematography, voted The Irony of Fate as the best film of 1976, and chose Andrey Myagkov as the best actor of the year.In 1977, Ryazanov, Braginsky, cinematographer Vladimir Nakhabtsev, composer Mikael Tariverdiev and actors Barbara Brylska and Myagkov were all awarded the USSR State Prize in recognition of their participation in making the film.

George Faraday commented that while it was basically a happy end romantic comedy, The Irony of Fate had a "socially critical undertone": it could be interpreted as an "explicit commentary... On the soulless uniformity of the Soviet urban landscape". Simultaneously, however, critics accused the director of creating an escapist film which allowed the Soviet audience to turn away from the "unattractive features" of their country's reality. Ryazanov responded that "to reassure, to encourage the viewer – it is not such a sin." He rejected the claims his pictures were meant to please state authorities, stating their optimistic nature was "spontaneous" rather than "forced".

The film is traditionally broadcast in Russia and the former Soviet republics every New Year's Day, and is widely regarded as a classic piece of Russian popular culture: Andrew Horton‏ and Michael Brashinsky likened its status to that held by Frank Capra's 1946 It's a Wonderful Life in the United States as a holiday staple. A sequel, The Irony of Fate 2, was released in December 2007, becoming a box office hit and grossing over $55 million to a production budget of $5 million.



 

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