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Bed and Sofa

(Tretya meshchanskaya)
USSR 1927. Dir: Abram Room. 68 min. DCP

“One of the most delightful and outrageous early Soviet films” (Richard Peña, Film Society of Lincoln Center), Abram Room’s subversive silent comedy sets a surprisingly frank treatment of adultery, free love, and abortion against an unvarnished depiction of privations and housing shortages in 1920s Moscow. Husband Kolya and wife Liuda live in an already-cramped Moscow flat when they’re joined by new-to-town Volodya, Kolya’s old pal. Liuda’s initial resentment of the intrusion soon gives way to illicit romantic attraction; before long, all three are happily involved in a ménage à trois. The film’s sexual candour caused it censorship troubles in the U.K. The unusual honesty about Soviet social conditions wouldn’t be possible in the 1930s. The screenplay was allegedly based on poet Vladimir Mayakovsky's love life, which led some to accuse the filmmakers of indelicacy.