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Афоня 1975
Description: The 1975 movie by Georgi Daneliya "Afonya" was an unexpected commercial hit in USSR. The main hero "Afonya" Borshev is a plumber, who spends his life partying with "buddies", many of whom he doesn't even remember after nights of massive drinking. His wife leaves him, his boss territories him on probation, his entire life is falling apart, but he doesn't realize it. Afonya met Katya at a dance club, yet didn't pay her much attention. But she is the one, who can save him... In this film Daneliya achieves a excellent balance of satire and drama. Quotes from the film gained a cult status in USSR.
Released: 13 Oct 1975 Director: Georgiy Daneliya Writers: Aleksandr Borodyanskiy Actors: Leonid Kuravlyov, Evgeniya Simonova, Evgeniy Leonov, Saveliy Kramarov Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance
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Афоня Reviews:

One of the greatest films made by nice Russian-Soviet-Georgian director Georgy Danelia. Of all his brilliant works "Aphonya" probably is the most loved by Soviet people, and most cited too. This movie is a tragicomic adventure into the globe of a middle-aged plumber Afanasiy Borshchov (Afonya), starting exactly when the next black stripe in his life starts - he's left by his woman, there are problem with work, and, yes, there's some alcohol dependence. On the first look, Borschov is an exceedingly jovial man, sometimes rather cynical and sarcastic though. But as the film proceeds and we receive deeper into the inner globe of the hero, Danelia and Kuravlyov (the actor) reveal unexpected dramatical depth of the character, turning out to be portraying the whole social phenomena of the village folks moving to the large town and getting oppressed by the urban method of life. The first half of the movie is quite entertaining, most of the gags and comic cases are concentrated here. Then the melodramatic and rather sad second part comes, showing relations between Borshchov and the young nurse Katya, and how are these relations growing from the light flirting in the disco into the deep and desperate love (brilliant acting by Evgenia Simonova). The general concept of the movie as I see it is hero's return to the roots, into the village, which blows away Afonya's emotional numbness and fake joviality, unfolding the pretty and loving soul, truly Russian in its frankness and kindness. Nice works by unbelievable actors E.Leonov and B.Brondukov starring as Afonya's boon-companions, and a lot of another nice actor works like Vladimir Basov (Dni Turbinyh), Nikolay Grinko (Stalker, Solaris), Savely Kramarov (Gentlmeny Udachi) and so on. There's no visual refinement of Danelia's soon works (especially his stunning surrealistic sci-fi "Kin-Dza-Dza") in this film, and the camera work is quite traditional. But the editing is very expressive and sometimes drastically changes the mood of the film. Also it is important to add that this film is one of the greatest portrayals of Soviet urban life of 70's, so it possesses definite historical value. I would give this movie 8 out of 10, and among Danelia's works I would placed it on the second if not on the first place. Could this movie be adequately translated, the Western viewers should also play it very much.


This is the second movie I've seen of Daneliya; I sought it out after I saw Kin-Dza-Dza. This movie is wonderful too, in very very various ways, but it seems to have a related sentiment of humorous cynicism covering a serious hope at a center for human kindness. This makes for a tone that's both tragic and comic, and a movie that's sincere but not doe-eyed. As a the one-name game might suggest, this is not a plot-heavy movie but a hero piece about Afonya, a character who seems to be making himself into a nobody. He gives the impression of a boy doing everything wrong in his life -- demanding apprentices at work only to dismiss them immediately, insulting his boss, leaving a house to flood because he doesn't wish to do overtime, causing his girlfriend to leave him by bringing home drunk strangers only to chase girls who are uninterested in him and ignore the one who is. And as he gets everything wrong for himself, he does it in a very funny way. And destructive as his actions may be, they are shown us in a tone excellent to create him seem likable and a bit pitiable rather than despicable. And slowly, with an imperceptible transition, we realize that he's not just getting everything wrong in his life, but that he;s just extremely depressed and indifferent. Things receive as sad as they can for our character -- as he comes home to the aunt who raised him to search that he she is dead and realizes his own callousness at never writing him -- before they end with one bright glint of home. Very fine and sensitive writing, acting, and directing to achieve the counterpoint of tone here -- the movie is both very funny and very sad, the character is both poor and very likable. Very easy in its method but no tiny achievement.


Love this film.May Include Spoiler further Down.Filmed in Yaroslavl, where my OH is from, even 35 years on from filming, I can recognise places. Almost a piece of social history.I don't speak Russia, but I didn't really need to to understand and 'get' it. It has some funny moments during the first half, which either due to the actors, or the direction, or possibly both, you can say what is event without understanding the dialogue.I have found this with a lot of soviet era films; the acting, stage set up and direction is almost like they are making a silent movie. Not visual, in tell an action blockbuster or a cartoon, but you seem to be drawn into the characters and their actions/mannerisms as much as the dialogue, none more so than Afonya.My one slight criticism would be that the actress who plays love interest, Katya, seems rather to young for Afonya. But the method she plays the cute, adoring, almost puppy like wannabe girlfriend is so enchanting I can forgive that.The two main characters, Afonya and Katya are unbelievable and you wish to care about them from the start. With nice comedic helping characters as Afonyas mates.Possible spoiler. The movie hits a rather sad mission towards the final act, but the ending will leave the viewer very satisfied.



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