1166 words to take you back in time.

in Movies & TV Shows2 months ago (edited)


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This unanticipated journey into the world of soviet-time Russian comedy movies started when I was doing odd jobs to pay mvy way through medschool. I used to take long 8-hour bus rides between cities, and the busses used to have tiny 12-inch plasma televisions that streamed Russian classics. It was a time when I didn't speak much Russian, but you can stay rest assured that most of my Russian colloquial lingo comes from these movies.

From the plethora of classic movies that I watched, three stand out the most. The Diamond Arm (Brilliantova Ruka), Ivan Vassilyevich Changs Occupation (Ivan Vassilyevuch menyaet professio), and Gentlemen of Fortune (Gentlemeni Udachi). Even today, a lot of monologues from these movies are casually thrown out in conversation. They are wildly popular, and rightfully so.




The Diamond Arm

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This is not just a movie to me, it is a soul cleanser. A tale of crime, modesty, comedy and so much more. A brilliantly directed comedy movie that forces you to decide if you want to bite your nails, laugh or do both at the same time. A rollercoaster of anxiety, sadness, and laughs. "Genius" is an understatement. With excellent acting, and perfect execution. The direction of the movie and narration of the story is parallel to none.

The protagonist, Semyon Semenich, goes on an excursion and befriends his biggest mistake - Genady. A charming, well-dressed, well-mannered, absolutely gorgeous man. However, they are both opposite poles. Semyon is a modest, hard-working family man. Gennady, on the other hand, is in collaboration with a crime syndicate and is sent on a mission to smuggle expensive gems and jewelry. Unfortunately, Semyon ends up with a cast on his hand with the loot in it, and Gennady is then commissioned to retrieve them at any cost from the harmless Semyon.

I haven't seen comedy done this well. It is difficult to find the perfect balance. At times, it is all pant-wetting laughs and dilutes the story to nothing. Or else, it is too many laughs, poor execution of jokes, "try hard", and completely ruins the story. But the Diamond Arm is as close to perfect as it gets.

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Comedy movies usually need to present their villains very prominently to sell the story. The villains are usually cartoonish, or extremely illogical. It is a comedy movie, after all. But, The Diamond Arm does it differently. This is also why this villain is my favorite. Notice how I have not named the villain. That is because, just like how evil should be portrayed, comedy or not, the villain of this movie remains a mystery.

Ironically, it could be the villain who is the "Diamond Arm". We only see her hand in the movie and her extremely safe door. That is the only comedic relief given to her. She has no dialogues, no weird face, nothing. An arm and a door. That is it.

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It adds so much to her character. It begs the viewer to anticipate her big entrance. Her big move. The big climax. But it never comes. It keeps you biting your nails and waiting for her to do something outrageous. But all she does is wave her diamond-filled hand and lock the door. The henchmen do all the work and fill in the role of portraying how powerful and dangerous she is. A brilliant way to add character to a mysterious role.

Watch the full movie here, all screenshots taken directly from the movie.




Ivan Vassiliyevich Changes Occupations


This classic from 1973 is considered one of the best comedy, till date. Keep an extra pair of pants, and someone to look after you in case you almost die from laughing.

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This is about a pesky crook and his apartment manager, and how they travel back in the time of the great Ivan the Terrible and switch places with him. The apartment manager is a coward and sheepish, while his mate, the crook...is a clever crook. They team up to make their lives a bit easier in the shoes of Ivan the Terrible. The crook wants to cash on the royal goods, and the apartment manager goes with the flow. Meanwhile, the royal Ivan he Terrible is having an absolutely depressing time in then-modern Moscow.

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Oh, all this happened because the crook's neighbor, who is a scientist, creates a time machine. The movie highlights a lot about human nature while staying true to its comedic roots. It also brings out the long-lost traditions of royalties and showcases a lot of traditions and culture. Going back in time was a fantastic excuse for showcasing some things that were bound to be lost.

It is an incredible film about science, trickery, politics, madmen and so much more. Also, there is a cat. I won't spoil anything about that.

There is a lot to learn from the movie. Showing it to growing kids won't only give them a good laugh, but will also teach them a lot about culture, and morals. Adults can use those lessons, too.

Watch full movie here, all screenshots taken directly from the movie.




Gentlemen of Fortune



If there was one movie that I would suggest you watch from these three, it would be gentlemen of fortune. Absolute banger of a movie. It is a story of how a noble and humble manager of kindergarten is sent to become one of the most notorious crooks in order to recollect the possession of stolen artifacts of great importance.

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Turns out, the crook in question is a doppelganger of the manager. This movie taught me so many terms that make the biggest crooks smile friendlily at me.

The director is given a crash course at being a crook. WHich involved learning slangs, way of speaking, walking etc. It was the most hilarious thing ever. He befriends three other crooks in jail and teams up to find the stolen artifacts.

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It is a journey of backstabbing, friendship, betrayal, suspicion, brotherhood, teamwork and all the polar opposites you can think of. But most importantly it is a story of education and how one flower in a garbage yard turns it into a garden.

The silver lining within the grand scheme of the story is incredibly valuable. There is so much character building going on with every developing scene. The movie will force you to create emotional bonding with each individual character and still succeed in giving you a mighty chuckle.

Watch full movie here, all screenshots taken directly from the movie.




I want to take you down Alice's rabbit hole. And these three movies are the rabbit leading you there. Fair warning, once you enter the realm of classic Russian comedy, your craving will never be satiated. There are just that many of them, and no way to get any more once you have gone through all of them.


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