Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears

(Москва слезам не верит, USSR, 1980)

I wondered what the title was all about. It seems it was a taken from a line in a Russian song. Like, things will work out for the better. And in this sweet little movie, they mostly do. Not totally, but when does that ever happen?

Katya, Lyudmilla, and Tanya are roommates in a dismal little “workers dormitory” in 1958. They are all from the country. Katya works in a machine shop, and has just failed her exams for college entry, where she was hoping to study chemistry. It will be another year until she can take them again. She meets a charming TV camera operator, who soon forces himself on her. She becomes pregnant, and he wants nothing to do with the baby. Lyudmilla is constantly scheming to find a husband. (It seems that young women outnumber young men in Moscow by five to one. I’m not sure why.) She meets a hockey star, and they hit it off. Tanya is engaged to a swell guy, and they get married. Katya has the child, a daughter, and her prospects look pretty dim.

Jump forward twenty years. Tanya is happy, living in the country with her three boys. Lyudmilla married the hockey star, who turned out to be an alcoholic. She is separated from him, but he still comes around mooching her last kopeks. And Katya … well, she is now managing a big factory. She has her own really nice apartment, where she lives with her grown daughter. Wow! I never expected that. But she is desperately lonely. Then she meets a man on a train who seems almost too perfect …

That’s all the plot you need. I’ve left out a million important details, but you should really see for yourself how it happened and how it all comes out. It’s about the ups and downs of life, and about an enduring friendship between the three women. We liked it one hell of a lot. It’s one of those movies that, when it’s over, I’m so invested in the characters that I immediately start wondering what happened to them afterward, and wishing them all the best.