What Men Talk About

What Men Talk About (О чём говорят мужчины) is а 2010 Russian comedy and road movie. It is the film version of the play Conversations of Middle-Aged Men About Women, Movies, and Aluminum Forks (Разговоры мужчин средного возраста о женщинах, кино, и алюмниевых вилках), written and performed by the Moscow theatrical group Kvartet I (Квартет И). They also wrote and acted in the film adaptation. The group, which is highly acclaimed on the theater scene, also released two films prior to this one—Voting Day (День виборов) and Radio Day (День радио).

The film is about four friends who are taking a road trip to Odessa to see a concert. The film consists of them talking about various things—and that’s it. Each of the four characters is a different “type” of contemporary Russian man, to keep the conversation interesting, and they talk not only about women but also art, shashlik, etc.

Much of the critical discussion of the film was taken up with either surprise that the men discussed things other than women, or surprise that they discussed women at all. It seems that there’s official disagreement in Russia about what men do—or should—discuss privately. Either way, the male Film.ru reviewer (the site had the cutesy idea of dividing the review into two parts, one written by a woman and one written by a man; the woman actually seemed to enjoy the film more) called the film a “women’s movie about men,” suggesting that talking is purely in the women’s sphere. On the more technical side, Ruskino wrote that the stage version did not translate well to the screen.

Overall, the film got very high ratings from audiences. It was deemed funny, if not exactly laugh-out-loud, and enjoyable to watch all around. A sequel, What Men Still Talk About (О чём ещё говорят мужчины), was released in 2011.

Director: Dmitry Dyachenko
Stars: Leonid Barats, Aleksandr Demidov, Kamil’ Larin, Rostislav Khait
Production company: Kinokompaniya Kvadrat, Strela
Box office take: $12 million

Official trailer:

What Men Talk About

Julie is currently studying Russian as a Second Language in Irkutsk (and before that, Bishkek) with SRAS's Home and Abroad Scholarship program, with the goal of someday having some sort of Russia/Eurasia-related career. She recently got her master’s degree from the University of Glasgow and the University of Tartu, where she studied women’s dissent in Soviet Russia. She also has a bachelor’s degree in literature from Yale. Some of her favorite Russian authors are Sorokin, Shishkin, Il’f and Petrov, and Akhmatova. In her spare time Julie cautiously practices martial arts, reads feminist websites, and taste-tests instant coffee for her blog.