Eldar Ryazanov is one of Russia’s most popular film directors. Holidays, especially New Year’s, Russia’s most important family holiday, are celebrated by, in part, watching his movies. Although Irony of Fate is the most popular and well-known for this, nearly any of Ryazanov’s films can be found playing in the background of festive family celebrations. Phrases from his movies are quoted by Russians as much as pieces of folk wisdom as pop culture references.
In tribute to the memory of the then-recently passed great film director, Adme.ru, a Russian-language site revisited his best works. This translation is provided by popkult.org. The original article can be seen here.
A Cruel Romance (Жестокий романс)
A Cruel Romance is a true treasure of Soviet cinematography. Director’s masterly work in adapting Alexander Ostrovsky’s Without A Dowry delights both admirers of the great playwright, as well as enthusiasts of good, smart and beautiful films for over 30 years. The full movie can be seen on YouTube, with English subtitles, here.
The Garage (Гараж)
The action takes place in a confined space filled with people of all different types and walks of life. Men and women, professors and manual workers are trying to solve a question vital for a soviet person that era: who is worthy to participate in a parking garage co-op, and who is not. The film was inspired by the real meeting of a parking garage-construction co-op in which Ryazanov participated. Acting, closed-space staging and precision of the dialogs deserve much praise and admiration. The full movie can be seen on YouTube here.
Office Romance (Служебный роман)
This is one of the films that you want to watch over and over again, and every time the story will remain interesting and funny. Well-loved actors who created charismatic characters, retorts that became part of everyday speech, wonderful music and poetry, beautiful images of autumn city of bygone days…. This film is a true treasure and is available on YouTube here.
The Irony of Fate, or Enjoy Your Bath! (Ирония судьбы, или С легким паром!)
This iconic film became an essential attribute of New Year holidays in Russia, along with ‘elka’ (Christmas tree J), Ded Moroz (Father Frost, Russian version of Santa Claus), champagne and ‘Oliver’ salad, as an everlasting source of holiday spirit which bring people closer together time after time. There is, probably, not a Russian in Russia who can’t quote a couple lines from the movie. Watch this film on YouTube here.
Beware of the Car (Берегись автомобиля)
Here it is, first captivating, interesting and funny soviet mystery! Phrases from the romantic comedy Beware of the Car became famous quotations long ago delighting hearts of soviet viewers. Though generations change, immortal work of Eldar Ryazanov with participation of brilliant Russian actors does not lose its charm and timely relevance. The film can be seen on YouTube here.
The Carnival Night (Карнавальная ночь)
Eldar Ryazanov created a masterpiece for years to come. The Carnival Night is a great dose of positivity. It makes one truly believe the words of an uncomplicated song performed by young, charming Ludmila Gurchenko: “And the cheerful spirit will not depart from you!” Watch the full film on YouTube here.
Put a Word for the Poor Hussar (О бедном гусаре замолвите слово)
In this project the director successfully communicated unspeakable aura of tsarist Russia. Wonderful music score, roll of drums, narration by sweet voice of Andrey Mironov, gentle ladies and courageous gentlemen – in simple words, this film is a must see. You can watch it on YouTube here.
Unbelievable Adventures of Italians in Russia (Невероятные приключения итальянцев в России)
This film is a result of joint work of geniuses of Italian and Russian cinematography. Who but Ryazanov could produce such masterpiece?! The picture is full of renown actors, scenic views of recognizable locations in Leningrad (now Saint-Petersburg), many stunts performed by the actors themselves – this film makes one’s heart soar even now, many years later. And what humor! This is another picture in “must see” and “repeated viewing is strongly encouraged” categories. Watch their adventures on YouTube here.
Little Old Robbers
This film, in spite of irony and seeming light-heartedness, raises serious moral questions. Nevertheless, this admonition is without scolding, very subtly and with humor, as it is always done by Ryazanov! Another wonderful film which was seen by almost everyone in our country and many will be delighted to watch its characters over and over again. See it on YouTube here.
A Railway Station for Two
(Вокзал для двоих)
The result of the creative duo of director Eldar Ryazanov and filmwright Emil Braginsky, the picture was released in 1982. Ludmila Gurchenko and Oleg Basilashvili played – no, they lived for us – an incredibly emotional and rather complicated story of love between people from different social strata. But love, of course, destroys all barriers. See it on YouTube here.