Prorva (Moscow Parade) (1992)
Director: Ivan Dykhovichnyy.
Starring: Aleksandr Feklistov, Ute Lemper (Anna), Natalya Kolyakanova, Yekaterina Ryzhikova, Yelena Antonova (Culture minister).
first Russian, post-Soviet view of Stalinist excesses
Spoiler Warning: below is a summary of the entire film.
"The Germano-Soviet pact has sealed the alliance of two totalitarian powers, Nazi Germany and Bolshevik Russia. Hitler is about to hurl his country into war. In the USSR, Stalin reigns supreme. He rules through the NKVD, a secret police force whose members form a privileged caste, an elite which holds all power, which meets no resistance. No resistance . . except from horses and women."
A fine horse named Rabfak is brought in by train.
A good-looking woman named Anna is on a ship. A man comes up to her and grabs her arm and she tells him: "Leave me alone!" She goes into another room and is grabbed by another man who rapes her. (brief nudity) She yells out for Sacha, her husband, but the rapist covers her mouth with his left hand.
Anna dressed in a slip sits in the bathtub and pours wine on herself. Sacha enters the main room and looks disappointed by the messy bed. He looks at Anna in the bathtub and says: "Here we go again!" He breaks the record Anna was playing on the phonograph. The telephone rings and Sacha answers it. Sacha asks what do Rabfak's droppings look and smell like? He then says send for the specialists.
Anna gets off the ship and gains the attention of a lot of males. Meanwhile, Sacha watches as Rabfak in being trained.
Sacha is sleeping and Anna comes in and gets on top of him. She asks the "impotent bastard" to have sex with her. He doesn't respond the way she wants him to, so she calls him: "You wet blanket! The sight of you makes me puke! Lackey! Ghoul!" She starts slapping at him.
Two young men stop and sit at a fountain. The one fellow says to the other fellow, Mitia: "Ever since Andre Guide wrote to you, they're trying to trap you." The authorities have finally found an excuse. Gueorgui knows too. The authorities accuse his friend of being an enemy of the people. He adds that Gueorgui and he will save their friend and all he has to do is keep his mouth shut.
Miltia's friend says that the authorities won't let him write. "It'll be no use crawling. Can't you see you're a dead man?"
Sacha tells Anna that they can't cancel their evening. He quotes to Anna: "For the parade, the marshal has to ride a black stallion." She just tells him to turn up the volume on her photograph. He calls her a nymphomaniac.
A ballerina dances and gets a great ovation for her work. Her name is Nadiejda Pavlovna. Our writer, Mitia, wanted to present her with some flowers, but she is too busy with the massive crowd of fans to notice him.
Anna tap dances with a man on either side of her and receives applause by her small audience. One of the men in the audience, Vassily, raves about Anna.
Anna now sings a song in English and sings very nicely. Sacha comes over to her saying: "I asked you to sing in Russian!" She tells him that soon she won't even speak Russian.
The guests start leaving the party. Anna and Sacha are alone now. He tells her that the trainer of Rabfak is now out of jail and he can train the horse for the parade. Anna gets mad at him and throws a bottle at him that breaks a window pane. She then starts smashing the dinner plates on the table in front of her.
One of the party guests, Vassily, goes over to see Mitia, who has a letter for Vassily to read.
Vassily goes to see his female client, the ballerina, in prison. She teases Vassily until they start hugging and kissing. She is seven weeks pregnant. Vassily has been warned that the ballerina will kill him as she has killed all her lovers. Vassily only says he's not worried because he will kill the woman before she can kill him.
Anna is in a taxi with her luggage. The taxi cab driver asks her why would she be going on vacation at a time like this in Moscow? At the train depot, a good-looking man carries her luggage for her. She seems impressed with him. Waiting for the train, the two stare at each other.
Later the two have sex with each other., She sings a song for him, while she plays the piano. He dances around the piano with his shirt off. They dance together. Later they watch a film together. She tells the handsome fellow, Gocha, that no one raped her. She just humiliated herself because she is scum. Then she says "they" killed her whole family, including relatives of the family. She continues noting that people she lives with smell of death: her husband, her friends, her house and the whole city! Anna says her husband was there when she was raped, in the next room and he did nothing. She virtually begs Gocha to talk to her, but he remains quiet.
Mitia's two "friends" are thinking of assassinating Mitia. They go to his apartment and find what looks like a man who has hanged himself, but it's just a suit and hat hanging in the middle of the room.
Anna has more sex with Gocha. (brief nudity) She is very clingy and Gocha literally has to run from her. She still has flashbacks of the rape.
When Anna sees Sacha again, he goes on a rant calling her a bitch and saying that he will tear her guts out! When he calms down a bit, she goes to him, but he still calls her a bitch saying that she knows that he cannot divorce her. He adds that she was not raped and asks why did she do that? They are, however, interrupted by a telephone call. That diverts Sacha's attention from his wife, who sarcastically laughs and leaves the room.
Vassily introduces Mitia to Anna saying that she is the most beautiful woman in Moscow. Anna is attracted to Mitia, so Vassily literally sweeps her off her feet and takes her away.
While a band plays, Rabfak is bothered by the music and acts up. Of course, this is a worrisome situation for Sacha.
Anna is out with Mitia. She taps dances for him.
Vassily has sex with the ballerina. He asks her if he's her fifth man? No, he's her seventh.
Anna kisses Mitia, then they part. Anna's body starts shaking. She wants sex and thinks about her affair with Gocha. (brief nudity) She finds Gocha working carrying luggage to the trains. She says she wants to be with him He tells her, if that's true, she never should have cried rape. This makes Anna mad and she demands to know what Gocha meant by that. She badgers him until he says that she had sex with a guy and now she can't forget that man. She dreams about him. (The poor guy is confusing post-traumatic stress disorder with lust.) This makes Anna even madder and she makes a scene. On the stairs, he pushes her away from him, but he doesn't know his own strength, and she falls and hits her head causing her to bleed. Around six law men grab Gocha and take him away. Then other law men check on Anna.
Sacha is upset with Anna for being with this Gocha person. He says that the fellow is a real stallion. He says he feels dishonored by Anna being in the hospital.
Sacha speaks with the boss about his wishing to be relieved of his horse duties. The boss asks would it be better if they just shot Sacha? Sacha's friend, Vassili Alekseievitch, tells the boss to calm down. Together they can think of a solution to the training problem.
Anna tells Mitia that she's in love with another man. He says: "Congratulations!"
Vassili Alekseievitch goes to see Gocha in prison. Gocha only says that the authorities can shoot him, and then Anna will realize what she has done. The guard tells Vassili that Gocha ruined one of Anna's eyes.
Vassili takes the ballerina out dancing on a ship. While dancing, he sings a love song to her.
Mitia attends a talk given to a select group of Russian writers. A woman minister gets up to complain about the writings of some of the authors. She especially denounces a man who once wrote a love poem to her when she way young. Mitia imagines the pregnant speaker in the nude. (brief nudity) She says since the authors are not taking the right path of socialism, the authorities will have to show them the right path.
From the apartment window, Mitia's dog starts barking at something or someone on the street below. He's barking at the body of a dead woman. But who is it? Probably the ballerina.
Stalin talks about the matter of Rabfak. He says the horse trainer, Bourdiouk, is now back in prison.
Vassily the lawyer now takes off for his home town. A bridge worked shouts to him: "Happy Holiday!"
With a black eye-patch on her left eye, Anna listens to her music at home. Later she goes to the prison to speak with Gocha. She tells him that her eye is healing up. Then there will be no more problems for them. They try to touch hands but the guards don't let them. Suddenly, Gocha gets up from the table and says he's through. This upsets Anna.
The parade is soon to start. Rabfak behaves, but they had to use a trick to do that, and Sacha and his crew are ecstatic. He even jumps into the fountain.
Now Mitia takes a woman on a date on the ship.
Two guards grab Sacha.
Guards grab Mitia from off the ship.
Sacha, Mitia and what looks like the whole Rabfak team are about to be executed by firing squad. The sentence is carried out.
With her eye-patch still on, Anna sings to an audience.
Highlights of the recent parade are shown in movie theaters.
At the end of the song, we see that Gocha and Anna are together.
These are rather ordinary urbanites with some serious relationship problems. But, added to those setbacks, is the nature of the Soviet government and, especially, it's leader, the paranoid Joseph Stalin. A married woman named Anna becomes a nymphomaniac because she is lonely and afraid of being alone, so she constantly seeks out male companionship. Her husband is embarrassed by her behavior and would like to divorce her, but the Soviet puritanical moral codes won't allow it. She finally finds a man she thinks she can stick with and they have a real relationship. The husband, meanwhile, is consumed with trying to calm down a stallion long enough for him to walk in the Moscow Parade without throwing the commanding officer off his back. The manager works very hard on the horse, but has to ask to be taken off the assignment because the stallion isn't making much progress. There a lot more weak relationships going on among the friends and acquaintances of Anna and her husband. None of the relationships seem healthy. There's a writer that's being watched by the authorities for his non-socialistic authorship. So it's seen that these people are also threatened by the Soviet government.
Then things turn for the better and things are looking up for the characters somewhat.
And then the totalitarian government gives the characters a big surprise.
One of the earliest anti-Soviet films in Russia.
Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.
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